Zero Tackle have learned that Liu is set to be handed an immediate release by the Gold Coast, with the New Zealand-born forward heading back across the Tasman to link up with the Warriors, who are desperate to add depth to their forward pack.
It's unclear at this stage what percentage, if any, of Liu's contract the Titans will pay to facilitate the switch to the New Zealand Warriors, with it being reported that he is on approximately $550,000 per year on the Gold Coast.
Trumpeted as a big signing for the Titans when he made the switch from the Sydney Roosters at the end of 2021, Liu struggled in a well-beaten Titans side throughout the 2022 campaign.
Making just 95 metres per game, it was his second-lowest output with the ball in hand since 2017, with his last two years at the Roosters seeing 106 and 108 metres per game respectively.
The Titans would finish in the bottom four, with Liu involved in just 5 wins out of 23 games played.
The news of his reported move to Auckland comes after the Warriors last week elected to release Ben Murdoch-Masila. It had been reported that he is set to link up with the St George Illawarra Dragons, however, news of that move is yet to become official.
Liu, who can play in both the middle and on the edge, would effectively be a straight swap for Murdoch-Masila, and join a forward pack which is led by Tohu Harris and Addin Fonua-Blake, but otherwise has plenty of questions hanging over it.
Euan Aitken, Eliesa Katoa and Jack Murchie, who all spent time in the second row during 2022, have departed the club, while Matt Lodge's exit halfway through the year will see a new-look group take to the field in 2023 for Andrew Webster's first season as a head coach.
The Titans, on the other hand, have lost Sam Lisone, Herman Ese'ese and Jarrod Wallace out of their forward pack, only signing Joe Stimson to go with Chris Randall and Sam Verrills, who will split hooking duties. Kieran Foran and Aaron Schoupp have also joined the club in the backline.
The three forwards lost were all on the fringes of first-grade last year, and with Erin Clark becoming a first-choice lock, it means Tinpo Fa'asuamaleaui and Moeaki Fotuaika will almost certainly take the front row positions.
That would leave Liu coming off the bench - something his price tag doesn't justify at the Gold Coast.
With the likely rise of other talents at the club like Jacob Alick, Klese Haas, Joseph Vuna, Iszac Fa'asuamaleaui (development contract) and the signing of Keenan Palasia for 2024, as well as established players Sam McIntyre and Jaimin Jolliffe able to play in the middle third, Justin Holbrook's options in the forwards won't take a great hit with Liu's departure, although another roster spot would also open up.
The Warriors open their 2023 season against the Newcastle Knights in Wellington on Friday, March 3, while the Gold Coast Titans play two days later in the final game of the opening round against the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval.