Rakitic to be used as bait for Coutinho? Plus Liverpool eye James and Lucas is off to Turkey

Afternoon Bulletin

Transfer rumours: Rakitic bait for Coutinho?

According to a report from the Liverpool Echo, Barcelona are weighing up a move for Coutinho and would be throwing in Ivan Rakitic as bait as well as a sizeable fee.

The Croatian has struggled to replicate his form prior to the transfer from Sevilla in 2014 and has come under fire for his form this season. It appears that Barcelona are willing to let him move on.

Liverpool eyeing Rodriguez

Reports from the Mirror claimed that Liverpool are eyeing up a move for Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez. The Colombian appears to have fallen out of favour with coach Zinedine Zidane and is reportedly looking for a move away from the Bernabeu.

Rodriguez has a contract until the end of June 2020 and is likely to be valued at £65m. However, all hopes of signing Rodriguez would largely depend on the Reds qualification for Champions League next season.

Lucas agrees to Reds exit

Lucas Leiva is understood to have agreed to join Turkish giants Galatasaray at the end of the campaign. Having signed from Gremio in 2007 for a fee of £5m, the Brazilian turned out over 350 appearances for the Reds but sees his first-team chances dwindled over the last few years.

Jurgen Klopp often turns to the likes of Emre Can, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum for the middle third which restricted Lucas role in the midfield. Lucas was deployed in defence numerous times this term and is understood to be frustrated at a lack of opportunities. Reports claimed that Galatasaray have already agreed to a deal with Liverpool to sign Lucas for a fee in the region of £2.5m.

Figo’s Gerrard regret

Steven Gerrard produced a Man of the Match performance as Liverpool Legends team beat Real Madrid Legends 4-3 in an entertaining clash in aid of the LFC Foundation. The former Liverpool skipper rolls back the years as he bossed the Liverpool midfield with style. Gerrard, who recently took up a role on the Liverpool coaching staff following his retirement, had a hand in all four Reds goals – scoring one, setting up two and winning a penalty.

Luis Figo admitted he once wanted Steven Gerrard to join Real Madrid and believes that he would have fitted in well at the Bernabeu. When asked if he would have liked to have seen Gerrard join him in Madrid, the Portuguese said: “The moment in life when we had the possibility to play together, that wasn’t possible. I think it is a pity because everyone wants to play with the best.’’

“I think Gerrard showed in his career he was one of the best footballers in his position. It was a pity but for Liverpool, it was lucky because he could show his quality and talent here, at Anfield.”