Coutinho sees his immediate future at Liverpool, claims former coach

The Reds forward has been linked with Barcelona, but Rodney Goncalves says the Brazilian is targeting Premier League and Champions League titles at Anfield

Philippe Coutinho is ‘very happy at Liverpool’ and setting his sights on major domestic and continental titles at Anfield, according to his former youth coach at Vasco da Gama.

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Rodney Goncalves helped to put the Brazil international on the road to stardom, with his potential spotted early by one of Rio de Janeiro’s biggest clubs.

Now one of the hottest properties in European football, the 24-year-old remains in contact with those who helped to shape his career.

Unsurprisingly, one of the topics up for discussion in recent weeks has been Coutinho’s plans for the future, with his efforts at Anfield drawing admiring glances from afar.

La Liga giants Barcelona are among those to have been heavily linked with a player approaching his prime, and one who has added a level of consistency to his game that has been missing in the past.

Liverpool, understandably, are reluctant to be drawn on the issue, with there a desire on their part to ensure that top talent is retained and allowed to flourish on Merseyside.

They have already seen Luis Suarez lured away to Camp Nou after enhancing his profile in the Premier League and are reluctant to endure a similar fate when it comes to Coutinho.

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Goncalves believes the Reds have little to fear at present, with his former academy graduate having expressed an ambition to land Premier League and Champions League crowns with Liverpool, while also forcing his way into the elite group of superstars at the top of the global game.

“His ambition is to be in the list of the top 10 players [in the world],” Goncalves told the Daily Telegraph.

“Whenever we speak, he always says that he is very happy at Liverpool and his biggest challenge is to win the Premier League and Champions League with Liverpool.

“He knows that if he continues to give great performances for Liverpool, he will always be selected for Brazil.

“Coutinho can be compared to Neymar, but Coutinho is Coutinho. He can become a very popular in Brazil and around the world like Neymar, he just needs to get a sequence of games in the Brazilian squad.

“There is pressure on him but it is not a problem. He plays at a big club and plays in the most important league in the world.”

Mane’s route to Liverpool stardom

Coutinho has netted six goals and provided as many assists in 12 outings for Liverpool this season, with those efforts helping to lift Jurgen Klopp’s side to the top of the Premier League table.

He is also tied to the Anfield outfit until 2020, having penned a contract extension in February 2015, and is understood to have no buy-out clause in those terms.

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11 2016

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