Steven Gerrard described Philippe Coutinho as “a serial winner” and a “special footballer” amid rumours Aston Villa want to sign the Barcelona midfielder.
Coutinho is reportedly keen to secure a return to the Premier League this month after four years at Camp Nou in which he has struggled for consistent form and fitness.
Barca, meanwhile, are said to be eager to remove the Brazil international from their wage bill to free up funds to register new signing Ferran Torres and explore further options in the January window.
Gerrard was Liverpool captain during Coutinho’s impressive spell at Anfield, in which the former Inter star was twice named the club’s player of the season by both fans and team-mates.
There is speculation the Villa boss would like to reunite with Coutinho, and he was certainly not prepared to rule out such a move.
Asked on Thursday about the rumours around the 29-year-old, Gerrard said: “Sixty-three caps for Brazil, a serial winner, was incredible at Liverpool, so I can understand why he’s linked to a lot of football clubs.
“I can understand why a lot of supporters up and down the country are speaking about him. I don’t think you get a nickname as a magician if you’re not a special footballer, so he’s someone I have an incredible amount of respect for.
“But I don’t want to add to any speculation, because he belongs to Barcelona.”
Coutinho has won two LaLiga titles, two Copas del Rey and the Supercopa de Espana with Barca, scoring 26 goals in 106 appearances in all competitions.
However, he has found it difficult to establish himself as a key player during a period of upheaval at the club and has only started 15 games since the start of the 2020-21 season.
Coutinho spent 2019-20 on loan at Bayern Munich, winning the treble of Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League titles, but he could not convince the German giants to make the move permanent.
“He won two league titles and two Copa del Reys with Barcelona,” added Gerrard.
“I think if you go and have a look at his Wikipedia page, I think you’ll see a serial winner wherever he’s been.
“I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about the player. He’s a friend of mine, so if I’m asked the questions I can speak for as long as you want.”
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