Despite signing a new five-year contract in midweek, the speculation surrounding Philippe Coutinho’s Liverpool future has refused to go away.
Jamie Carragher admitted in midweek that he still fears that the lure of Barcelona would be too much for the Brazilian international were they to come calling for him, but if the words of Coutinho himself are anything to go by, fans such as Carragher need not worry.
Speaking to the Daily Mail in a wide-ranging interview, the 24-year-old reaffirmed his commitment to Liverpool and stated his ambition to become an Anfield legend, while also disclosing that he didn’t need to wait until the end of this season to sign his new contract.
“No need to wait. I know. I live this every day, I can smell it. I see the ambition of the club, my team-mates, the manager. I am living it, seeing it. Wait to sign? No. No. Now is the right time.
“I understand what Liverpool means. We can say Dalglish, Rush, Hansen, Souness, Suarez, Gerrard. I’ve been here quite a few years already, it’s not like I am new. I understand.
“To have signed a new contract at this club, my goal is to be thought of one day in the same way as these players. They are legends. You define the success of a player by his loyalty or his titles. Or both. In order to be part of this group, I have so much to do.
“I want to win titles. Five years is my new contract . . . it gives me that opportunity.”
According to reports in Spain, Barcelona had made Coutinho their primary target for this summer, while many players (including several of the forward’s international teammates) have been tempted by the riches on offer in the Chinese Super League.
The former Inter player, however, while not mentioning Barcelona by name, has no interest in discussing a move away from Liverpool.
“China, no. I am not interested. I don’t think about that, not for one moment. My football is here. My heart is here. I don’t think about any other club. Not at all.
“I believe in finding somewhere you can express yourself, play without fear, play with everything you have. When you find that place, stay. This club, Liverpool, it has a plan. To be back on the top and that’s what I believe in. I want to be part of that.
“This is a great club. I remember how helpful everyone was when I first came to England, like a family. They made me welcome, comfortable. They removed any obstacles, they allowed me to think first about football and second about football. I remember that.
“For certain, I am comfortable here, my family is comfortable here. No doubts.”
Coutinho’s emphatic words should put the transfer speculation to bed…for a few days, at least.