Georginio Wijnaldum has reportedly agreed terms to join Barcelona on a free transfer ahead of next season.
The news appears to end speculation over whether the midfielder will sign a new contract at Liverpool, with his current deal due to expire this summer.
The Reds had been keen to keep the 30-year-old, with Jurgen Klopp having described Wijnaldum as his most consistent player.
He has started 27 of Liverpool’s 29 Premier League games this season – and came on as a substitute in the other two.
But Wijnaldum will quit Anfield this summer, having agreed a pre-contract deal with Barcelona, according to The Sunday Times.
The Dutch international has been linked with a move to Barca since last summer, when his former national team boss Ronald Koeman took charge at the Nou Camp.
It is thought the La Liga giants could not afford to make a move for Wijnaldum while he was still under contract at Liverpool, with the Catalan club feeling the pinch as a result of the pandemic.
But they are now set to land him for nothing once this season finishes, with Wijnaldum believed to desire a new challenge.
Wijnaldum’s expected exit will leave Klopp having to plan accordingly for next season, with the midfielder having been a crucial part of Liverpool’s Premier League and Champions League success over the past two seasons.
For much of the Reds’ charge to European and domestic glory, Klopp favoured Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho as his first-choice engine room.
But the manager has been unable to field all three together in midfield this season, with Henderson and Fabinho often having filled in at centre-half amid a crippling injury crisis.
If Wijnaldum does depart, Klopp will have a new-look midfield next season, having signed Thiago Alcantara last summer.
Liverpool have been linked with the likes of Lille’s Renato Sanches, Brighton’s Yves Bissouma, Rodrigo de Paul of Udinese, and Florian Neuhaus of Borussia Monchengladbach as potential replacements for Wijnaldum.
Klopp could also look to Curtis Jones, who has played a bigger role this season, while the Reds boss could also opt to play Diogo Jota as an attacking midfielder following a brief experiment earlier this season.
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