Sunday 11 December 2016

Xavi says 'best midfielder in Europe' Philippe Coutinho is perfect for Barcelona

Callum Davis

Published 16/11/2016 | 14:26

Xavi believes Philippe Coutinho is the best midfielder in Europe on current form and has admitted he would improve Barcelona's team in the event of a move to the Nou Camp.

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The Brazilian playmaker has been heavily linked with a move Barcelona following a sensational start to the season at table-topping Liverpool.

The 24-year-old has five goals and five assists in the league so far and Xavi believes the Brazilian's form is pivotal to Liverpool's chances of winning the title.

"He has always shown quality but now he is consistently playing well and that is good news for Liverpool if they want to really challenge for the title," said Xavi.

"He is playing under one of the most intelligent coaches in Europe. Klopp has a lot of experience at developing world-class players, so it is a good club for him to be at."

Despite insisting Coutinho is at the right club for this early stage of his career, Xavi was quick to heap praise on the former Inter Milan midfielder's potential.

"Coutinho is a player I have always thought is special - but under Klopp he has gone up another level," Xavi said in an interview with Goal.com. "On form there are not any better midfield players in Europe."

Xavi, who is one of the most decorated players in Barcelona's illustrious history, has also advised Coutinho to ignore growing speculation on his future.

"When you play at the level he is there is always going to be talk, but for now he needs to ignore all that and stay focused, because I think Liverpool have a real chance this season," he said.

"There are not many players that can improve Barcelona, but if you are asking me if he is one of them, on this form, I think he is. Technically he is very good. He would suit Barcelona's philosophy well."

In his column in the Daily Telegraph, Steven Gerrard admitted Liverpool could be powerless to stop Barcelona or Real Madrid luring Coutinho away from the club.

"I know that the Spanish giants, Barcelona and Real Madrid, will come looking for Philippe in a few more seasons, just like they did with Luis. And that is when it will get tricky for Liverpool because the lure to go to one of those two clubs is strong for any South American or Spanish player. Until that happens, Liverpool should really treasure Philippe."

Telegraph.co.uk

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