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Barcelona news: Philippe Coutinho makes this Lionel Messi admission

Barcelona news: Philippe Coutinho makes this Lionel Messi admission

Much of this success was achieved alongside Coutinho, who is no longer around to add to his five-goal tally in this year's competition (he scored a Liverpool hat-trick in the last group game).

It is his displays for Mauricio Pochettino's men which have piqued the current La Liga leaders' interest again, and Spurs fans will likely be concerned about a transfer saga developing akin to that which Coutinho was the subject of for almost six months. "I am trying to give my maximum for the team and trying to be alongside these great players in Europe", he said in a press conference at Estadio do Dragao. "If I play a good game then the goals will appear".

The Reds never had any need to instruct the player to seek dual citizenship though, whereas Barca want Coutinho off their list of 'extra-community positions' (also currently occupied by Yerry Mina and Paulinho) so they have a free space for a potential incoming player from a country outside the European Union.

When Liverpool blew away runaway leaders Manchester City at Anfield in January, it seemed to vindicate the curious decision to cash in on Philippe Coutinho halfway through the season.

"Is he underrated? I don't think so, not anymore".

"I don't think he has stepped up recently but maybe it is more obvious because his situations are not overshadowed by Phil Coutinho's situations".

Barca believe that the Danish international can be the natural successor to veteran playmaker Andres Iniesta after the club's coaching staff dismissed internal suggestions that Philippe Coutinho could fill that role. "But people with a football brain judge him right".

"It is just an honour to be here, and I'm ready to do whatever the boss asks", he added. The Northern Irishman also favorably compares in the exhilaration stakes to his German counterpart, having taken Liverpool as close to a Premier League title as they have got since its inception in 1992.

Keita's dynamism, proficiency both in defensive and offensive actions, and flair on the ball means he is tailor-made for Liverpool's style.

"We've played them twice and that's the highest level. It's interesting. It will be a special atmosphere as well and I'm really looking forward to it. Now we have to show we don't only want to be part of the competition, we are quite ambitious".