• Coutinho: Barca rumours is ‘complicated’

    Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho

    Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho says it is “complicated” to talk about speculation linking him with a move to Barcelona due to his long contract at Anfield.

    The attacking midfielder is reportedly a Barca close-season transfer target, but still has five years left to run on his Liverpool deal.

    Coutinho is set to captain Brazil for the first time against Australia in Melbourne on Tuesday and he insists his focus is on the Selecao.

    “Talking about this is complicated because I have a contract with my club and it is long,” Coutinho told reporters when asked about Barcelona’s interest.

    “So my focus is on the present and the national team. My focus is here.

    “In Liverpool, I feel really comfortable. So everybody knows my work there. The director, my boss knows what I’m doing there.

    “I work hard too here with the national squad. Every time here is different for me, I try to be better, improve my football and still try to get my place.

    “I think when he arrived he gave us confidence. The team has grown up and we started to win matches. Now we are at another level.

    “Being captain another level for me and today [Monday] is my birthday so it’s a special moment for me.

    “It is a huge responsibility for me. We have some of the best players in the world.”

    Coutinho said last month he would prefer to be a key performer for Liverpool than become “just another player” at one of Europe’s top teams.

    Asked for his birthday wish, Coutinho, now 25, said: “Win the match tomorrow. It’s important for our preparation for the World Cup. Another team, another style of football. I want to play a very good match.

    “I think all the players are prepared for this game and the style of Australia. It will be a competitive game. They have players of quality, they are strong and tall. It is different from what we find in Europe, so we are all prepared for this.”

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