Philippe Coutinho has been urged to stay at Liverpool by Brazilian defender Lucio.
Coutinho has been linked with a move to Barcelona in recent weeks, but Lucio believes it’ll be better for the playmaker to remain a big fish in a smaller pond at Anfield.
"If it was my decision, I would stay. If I was Coutinho, I would not leave Liverpool," Lucio told IBTimes UK. "Barcelona have several star players like [Lionel] Messi, [Luis] Suarez and Neymar. If Coutinho joins Barcelona, he has to play wherever the coach wants him to play, which would be to fill in here and there."
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Lucio, who made 105 appearances for the Brazil national team and currently plies his trade with FC Goa in the Indian Super League, feels his “good friend” Coutinho would do well for any team.
However, the 37-year-old believes that the fierce competition for first-team places at the Camp Nou could ultimately hinder his compatriot.
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"Regarding his future, it is a decision only Coutinho could take, but as a friend I would suggest him to stay at Liverpool," Lucio added. "Coutinho is my very good friend. I want to talk more about him, my friend. One thing in Europe is they not only want you to be a good player, but a good athlete. Apart from footballing characteristics, one has to look after themselves and that is what managers and coaches insist on.
"Discipline is very important to become a top player. If a player has that, he will be successful wherever he is going to play. I am sure Coutinho will do well wherever he is going to play."
Coutinho isn't good enough (yet) for Barcelona
The bright lights of the Camp Nou and the opportunity to play alongside his close friend Neymar - not to mention the world’s best footballer, Lionel Messi - would naturally tempt an ambitious player like Coutinho.
However, the 23-year-old must be acutely aware that he would be taking a big risk by leaving Anfield.
Coutinho struggled badly at Inter Milan and, given that Luis Enrique would be unable to guarantee him regular first-team football, joining Barcelona could backfire on the Brazilian.
Coutinho has everything he needs at Liverpool, particularly now he’s working under Jurgen Klopp, one of the most impressive young coaches in Europe.
Only the very best players - like Luis Suarez - can move to Barcelona knowing they’ll play week-in, week-out.
Coutinho, at this moment in time, is not quite at that world-class level.
Liverpool fans: are you worried that Philippe Coutinho will leave Anfield at the end of the season? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!