The Italian has often been mentioned as a potential transfer option for Liverpool — especially ahead of this summer's midfield rebuild — but all recent talk has switched focus to more traditional defensive midfielders, as the Reds prepare to lose Fabinho to Saudi Arabia.
However, Jurgen Klopp is a known admirer of Barella, and said of the Euro 2020 winner last year: "He's a really good player, a really good player and I like him a lot. He has all the things you want from a midfield player: he is aggressive, he is technical, he can run for ages and all these kinds of things. That's a top-class player."
Klopp's number two, Pep Lijnders has also praised the midfielder publicly, writing in his book Intensity: Inside Liverpool FC: "On the Friday night we watched Inter against Salernitana in the hotel, and Barella was superb.
"Jurgen asked me why I was laughing; we were in the middle of a discussion, but I was watching the game with one eye and saw him play another incredible pass. 'I’m just so happy that he doesn’t feature against us,' I said. 'Every attack starts with him, it’s scary.'"
While it seems Liverpool may now be looking at a different type of midfield option — Romeo Lavia, Cheick Doucoure and Leon Goretzka have all been linked — it could be the Reds' rivals City who move for Barella.
TuttoMercatoWeb claim that City have a 'clear idea' to move for the Italian playmaker in the event of Bernardo Silva's departure.
While it is noted that Barella and Silva have quite different profiles, Pep Guardiola is said to be impressed with the Inter number 23, and it is speculated that a big-money bid could force the Italian club into a sale. The report suggests a bid of €120m (£105m) would be impossible for Inter to refuse.
The 26-year-old has been at Inter since 2019, making 187 appearances and scoring 20 goals. In addition to admirers in Liverpool and Manchester, he has also been mentioned previously as a Newcastle United target.