Liverpool Transfer News: Philippe Coutinho Comments on Barcelona Rumours, More

Christopher SimpsonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2016

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho celebrates scoring a goal during the English FA Cup fourth round replay soccer match between West Ham United and Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground stadium in London, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Philippe Coutinho has said he is happy at Liverpool amid rumours linking him with Barcelona.

According to Paul Philbin of the Liverpool Echo, he said:

I just like to live in the moment. I am not looking ahead. Being here at Liverpool is a dream come true.

I am already playing in the best league in the world and I have a number of years left on my contract that I only renewed last year.

I am very happy and my focus is on helping Liverpool fight for trophies.

Per Bruce Archer of the Express, who cited reports in Spain, the 23-year-old was recently reported as a summer target for the Catalan giants, with Philbin noting the Brazilian is friends with compatriot and Barca star Neymar.

Coutinho also showered praise on Reds boss Jurgen Klopp and his impact since arriving at Anfield earlier in the season. He believes he is improving as a player under the German's tutelage, as he told Philbin: "It feels like we are moving in the right direction under him and we believe we can fight for the big prizes and enjoy some special moments with the fans. ... Klopp has put his ideas forward and they are helping to make me an even better player."

Jon Super/Associated Press

Due to injury and some inconsistent form—the latter of which has been a problem for Coutinho throughout his time at Anfield—the playmaker has made just 18 appearances in the Premier League this term, scoring and assisting five goals apiece.

On his return from injury, he put in an outstanding showing against Aston Villa in Liverpool's 6-0 rout of the Midlands outfit, as Sky Sports Statto revealed, and he drew plaudits from the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce:

However, in the next match, Coutinho—like a number of his team-mates—failed to replicate a similar level of performance as they drew 0-0 with Augsburg in the UEFA Europa League. Football writer Jack Lusby believes the midfielder would have been more effective in a central role rather than out wide:

Coutinho has shown he can operate competently out on the left—where he scored two goals in the 3-1 win over Chelsea earlier in the campaign—but not only can he do more as a No. 10, being deployed in the centre would also see him strengthen the spine of the team.

Former Reds stalwart John Arne Riise has identified the spine of the side as a weak point in need of addressing. He told Goal's Gianluca Lia: "I think that the central lines in every department have to be changed. I think we need a goalkeeper, a real leader at centre-back, a central midfielder and also a centre-forward."

Liverpool have made some strides to address these issues with the recruitment of Joel Matip and Marko Grujic, per Lusby:

A goalkeeper to replace the error-prone Simon Mignolet and a more reliable centre-forward than the injury-prone Daniel Sturridge are still needed, but their prospects in the centre of defence and midfield should be set to improve next season through the pair.

Coutinho still has room for improvement—finding a consistent level of performance should be top of the agenda—but if he can grow under Klopp and enjoy a run as a No. 10, he can further strengthen Liverpool's backbone and cement his status as a key player at Anfield for years to come.