Philippe Coutinho could miss the start of the season with an injury, which will only ramp up speculation that his Anfield future is shrouded in doubt.
The Liverpool midfielder again missed training on Wednesday with a back problem that has sidelined him for the past week, amid an increasingly intense campaign from Barcelona to destabilize his position at Anfield.
And now manager Jurgen Klopp is faced with a real problem for the opening fixture of the Premier League season, as the Reds face a tough trip to Watford, as well as the prospect of having to reject yet more Nou Camp propaganda.
The German coach will NOT play anyone who has not trained in the days before a game, and that leaves his little Brazilian with, realistically, just one more session to prove he is ready for the big kick off.
Some sources in Spain, inspired by Barca officials, have been keen to suggest Coutinho sitting out in order to push through a move to the Nou Camp, but Liverpool insist that their talisman really does have a back problem.
Liverpool officials though, are said to be surprisingly relaxed at the situation, and suggestions from within the club indicate even if the player submits a transfer request, which at this stage is hugely unlikely, it will not be granted.
It could lead to an uncomfortable weekend though, because if Coutinho does miss the trip to Watford, then he inevitably becomes a doubt for the Champions’ League visit to Hoffenheim on Tuesday, which would increase the speculation to fever pitch.
Barcelona have indicated they are prepared to pay €120m for the Brazil international, though that has not been translated into a bid.
It does though, offer a tense two weeks for Liverpool fans because the sale of Coutinho this late in the transfer window would be devastating blow to Liverpool’s ambitions this season.
But it is rare that Barcelona, or Real Madrid for that matter, don’t get the player they want, as the Reds experienced with Luis Suárez’s transfer to Barcelona in 2014.
So Liverpool fans, will Philippe Coutinho be a Liverpool player on September 1?