Jordan Henderson was handed the club captaincy when Steven Gerrard retired but Spanish news outlet Mundo Deportivo say it’s now been proposed to Coutinho.
It’s part of a last-ditch effort to keep him away from Barcelona – as well as a mega-bucks new deal.
Coutinho now hopes he has played his last game for Liverpool as he aims to force through a move to Barcelona this month.
But the Spanish club will have to offer about £133million for the Reds to consider letting one of their top stars leave Anfield.
It is now up to Barcelona to confirm the seriousness of their interest with a new bid.
Coutinho is a doubt for Friday’s FA Cup third-round clash with Everton after sitting out their New Year’s Day win at Burnley with what manager Jurgen Klopp says is a thigh injury. Liverpool’s summer stance that Coutinho was not for sale at any price appears to have significantly softened in recent weeks and that is why the player believes he may get his move.
Both the club and Klopp have stopped short of saying he will definitely be at Anfield when the window closes.
That is in contrast to their approach in the summer when Fenway Sports Group, the club’s owners, made it clear he would not be sold at any price even after he handed in a transfer request.
Although Liverpool have not named a price, it is understood that for negotiations to start it would have to be in excess of the £118m Barca bid that was rejected in the summer. Reports in Spain suggest they are ready to make a bid of about £133m but the Reds have yet to receive a new offer.
Barcelona have not stopped some of their star players talking about Coutinho while their kit manufacturers Nike made a blunder by posting online adverts for shirts carrying his name.
There now seems three ways this transfer will play out, with Coutinho being at Anfield beyond this summer the unlikeliest.
The other two are that Barca secure an immediate transfer or that a deal is agreed for the player to move to Spain in the summer.
Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona timeline
30 Jan: Philippe Coutinho joins Liverpool from Inter Milan in an £8.5m deal.
Summer: Barcelona first emerge as a serious suitor for Coutinho, although Paris Saint-Germain appear most likely to register their interest.
6 Jan: Jurgen Klopp issues statement telling Barcelona to forget about signing Coutinho. “We never had any ideas or plans or any talks about him leaving,” Klopp said.
25 Jan: Coutinho signs a new five-year contract at Liverpool. The deal is meant to end Barcelona’s interest in the Brazilian, who will earn £8m a season.
April: Liverpool insist Coutinho is not for sale at ANY price.
1 July: Summer transfer window opens. Bookies install Barcelona as favourites to land Coutinho.
4 Aug: Barcelona reluctantly sell Neymar to PSG in a £200m hostile transfer.
9 Aug: Liverpool reject Barcelona’s first bid of £90m for Coutinho. A second bid is also snubbed.
11 Aug: Coutinho hands in transfer request.
12 Aug: Coutinho makes himself unavailable for Liverpool’s season opener at Watford. He effectively goes on strike.
18 Aug: Liverpool reject a third bid of £114m for Coutinho.
23 Aug: Barcelona consider £138m bid for Coutinho but it is never made.
28 Aug: Despite still not playing for Liverpool this season, Coutinho is declared fit for Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers.
1 Sept: Coutinho scores for Brazil on transfer deadline day after realising there will be no late agreement between Liverpool and Barcelona.
13 Sept: Coutinho makes his first Liverpool appearance in the 2-2 Champions League draw with Sevilla.
19 Sept: Liverpool deny they requested a €200m transfer fee for Coutinho.
30 Dec: Nike accidentally publish a promotion for Barcelona players to buy a shirt with Coutinho’s name on the back. Neither Nike nor Barca comment on the leak.
31 Dec: Express Sport understands a £125m deal could be brokered between Liverpool and Barcelona – and that Coutinho may remain on Merseyside until the end of the season.
1 Jan: January transfer window opens and Coutinho has an unexpected thigh injury, ruling himself out of the game at Burnley.
2 Jan: Reports that Coutinho has gone on strike surface.