Belfast Telegraph

Philippe Coutinho: Being at Liverpool an "honour" despite keenness to join Barca

Philippe Coutinho says it is an "honour" to still be at Liverpool after he failed to get his desired move to Barcelona.

The Spanish giants made several bids for the Brazil playmaker over the summer, but the Reds rebuffed them all, even after the player handed in a transfer request.

The upshot is that Coutinho has remained on Merseyside, at the very least until the January window, and he was given a warm welcome by fans on his return to first-team action against Burnley on Saturday.

Speaking to ESPN, the 25-year-old has admitted he wanted to make the switch but is now moving on from the disappointment.

"The whole world knows what happened. From the first moment I played here and in the last game, I was very well received - like I always have been for the past four or five years," he said.

"The respect I have for them [the fans] and the respect they have for me appears to be maintained. What I need to do is to work hard and to always do my best to help the team.

"I received a job offer, like in life whatever work you do. Sometimes you're interested and sometimes you're not. In this case, like you all know, I was interested. My family too.

"But it's like I always said, it's a great honour to receive an offer for a great club like that. But it's also a great honour to be here. Liverpool is a great club. I'm here and I'm going to give it my best as always.

"It was a complicated month for me, but like I said I'm here now. It's an honour to receive an offer like that, but it's also an honour to be here."

On whether he was angry at Liverpool for blocking his path, Coutinho added: "No. It's all done now. I have to work. I'm focused on working hard and to have a good year if possible. In the end, I have to help my team."

The team need that help too after two draws in a week against Sevilla and Burnley followed a 5-0 loss at Manchester City, but manager Jurgen Klopp insists he can look beyond a frustrating week for his side.

With a Carabao Cup tie at Leicester on Tuesday Klopp made seven changes against the Clarets but despite that he saw signs that the squad he has built can have a successful season despite recent dropped points.

"We made seven changes but we were still really fluent, (playing) offensive football, dominant football," said the German, after watching his side have 35 shots to their opponents' five and enjoy 71 per cent possession.

"Seven changes and playing this type of football, no one should take it for granted.

"Yes, result-wise (it is frustrating) but honestly I am as a person not like this. If I can get over the few more than unlucky situations then it is my job to see the performance.

"We reacted really well and why we feel so disappointed or frustrated is because we see what this team can do."

Burnley manager Sean Dyche admitted they targeted Liverpool's defensive frailties and defender Ben Mee said it paid off.

"It was a hard-fought point. We had to dig in and fight for that point and although we didn't play as much football as we'd like but sometimes you have to come to these places and work hard as a team and grind the result out," Mee said.

"We wanted to get the ball forward quickly and put them under pressure as much as we could and the goal came from a good diagonal with Robbie (Brady) winning the flick-on and sometimes you have to do that.

"We kind of looked at it a little bit but we wanted to play some good football as well."

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