Steven Gerrard’s telling Philippe Coutinho admission as ex-Liverpool stars set to reunite

Premier League title race: Man City stretch lead at top

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Aston Villa’s links with a January move for Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho come as no surprise after Steven Gerrard’s glittering comments on Philippe Coutinho in 2017. The Villa manager was Coutinho’s former teammate at Liverpool – and the pair could reunite in the Premier League this month.

According to reports, the 29-year-old is ‘very close’ to returning to England after leaving four years ago.

Aston Villa and Barcelona are negotiating a short loan for Coutinho, which would see him join Gerrard’s squad until the end of the season.

There is hope that the parties involved can strike a deal soon as Gerrard looks to guide his side to a top-half Premier League finish.

The former Rangers boss thinks highly of Coutinho, as he demonstrated after one of Coutinho’s final games for Liverpool.

JUST IN: Aston Villa ‘negotiating Philippe Coutinho loan’ in Steven Gerrard bid

In September 2017, Gerrard heaped praise on Coutinho whilst working as a pundit after he scored a stunning free-kick in the Reds’ 3-2 win at Leicester City.

He told BT Sport: “He’s [Coutinho’s] impossible to defend against. I mean, when I used to train against him, I’d hate it if I was on the opposite five-a-side team.

“I wouldn’t go near him. And sometimes I’d say to him: ‘Keep away from me!’ He can embarrass you [as a defender]. He can stand you up; he can go both ways; he’s got such a low centre of gravity.

“He’s sharp, he’s quick and he’s two or three steps ahead of defenders. He’s so, so clever. He produces moments of genius, and he’s a world-class footballer.”

Coutinho joined Barcelona in a deal worth £142million back in 2018 – which is still a British record and one of the most expensive transfers in history.

The Brazilian ace signed a five-and-a-half-year contract at Camp Nou, featuring a buyout clause worth £355m.

But he’s drastically failed to live up to expectations in Spain, registering 26 goals and 13 assists in 106 appearances for Barcelona.

He looked to revitalise his career on loan at Bayern Munich in the 2019/20 campaign, lifting the Champions League but has been cast aside again with new boss Xavi deciding that he is not in his plans.

Gerrard’s attacking options are already stacked, and Coutinho’s arrival will add to the fierce competition for places at Villa Park.

Anwar El Ghazi, Ashley Young, Emiliano Buendia, Bertrand Traore, Trezeguet, Leon Bailey, Ollie Watkins, and Danny Ings are all battling for a spot.

Gerrard has also paid faith in young attacking midfielder Jacob Ramsey this season, and there may be concerns over how Coutinho’s arrival would stifle his development.

But it would be a transfer to get excited about and one that the Villa boss will be desperate to see come to fruition.

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