Belfast Telegraph

Coutinho's commitment to Liverpool not in question - Oxlade-Chamberlain

Philippe Coutinho, pictured, was backed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after the win at Bournemouth
Philippe Coutinho, pictured, was backed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after the win at Bournemouth

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain launched a staunch defence of Philippe Coutinho's commitment to Liverpool following their 4-0 win at Bournemouth.

Coutinho handed in a transfer request in August after Barcelona had a bid for the Brazilian rejected, but the Reds turned down a further two offers, with owners Fenway Sports Group publicly stating he was not for sale.

The 25-year-old missed the start of the season with a back problem, but has been outstanding since his return and it was his superb strike that set Liverpool on their way at the Vitality Stadium.

Interviewed on Sky Sports alongside team-mate Oxlade-Chamberlain post match, Coutinho was asked whether he wanted to stay at Liverpool until the end of the season.

"I always say the same thing - I try to enjoy the moment," Coutinho said. "I like to play football and every time when I go on the pitch I try my best."

Oxlade-Chamberlain then interrupted, adding: "He's a Liverpool player right now and he's doing really well for us.

"He's been the most professional person I've seen all season; he's been top quality from the start and every time he gives his all for the club.

"That's the most important thing right now.

"It's not fair to ask those kind of questions, I don't think, but he gives us his all every game and that's all you can ask of him."

Coutinho and fellow attackers Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were all on target at Bournemouth, along with defender Dejan Lovren.

Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has hailed Salah as one of the Premier League's top talents in the wake of the Egypt star already reaching the 20-goal mark in all competitions.

Asked if Salah has cemented himself among the league's top stars, Mignolet replied: "Yeah of course; he's already scored 20 goals, as a winger.

"Let's hope he keeps scoring goals and gets his tally up.

"I wasn't expecting him to score that many goals, especially as a winger.

"But he's doing well, working hard and let's hope he can keep doing what he's doing."

Mignolet believes Salah's previous stint at Chelsea has helped him hit the ground running at Liverpool following his summer transfer from Roma.

"He knows what the Premier League is all about from his time here before, and he's obviously learned and progressed in his time in Italy," said Mignolet.

"So he's come back here knowing what to expect.

"And he's so strong, he's got quick feet but he's strong, you can't run him over and he suits the English style of play. So let's keep him fit and let's hope he can keep scoring."


From Belfast Telegraph