Coutinho calls for ‘strong mentality’ ahead Barca’s Reds’ showdown

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Philippe Coutinho is relishing the prospect of facing former club Liverpool, but is desperate to help Barcelona defeat them.

Philippe Coutinho is relishing the prospect of facing former club Liverpool, but is desperate to help Barcelona defeat them.

The 26-year-old Brazilian midfielder scored 54 goals in just over 200 appearances for the Merseysiders before leaving to join Barca in January 2018 in a deal that could rise to £142million.

Coutinho left Anfield under a cloud having pushed for a move when he knew of Barca’s interest in him by submitting a transfer request.

He will face his former team-mates for the first time when the two sides meet in the Champions League semi-final first leg at the Camp Nou on Wednesday, before a second leg at Anfield next week.

Despite his acrimonious exit, Coutinho is adamant that he enjoyed his time at Liverpool, but he intends to help his current club overcome them in his first appearance in the last four of Europe’s premier competition.

Coutinho, who has scored 11 goals in 50 appearances in all competitions for the Spanish La Liga champions this term, said: ‘I am really looking forward to playing in my first Champions League semi-final, and I want to do a good job.

‘In addition, returning to Anfield will be very special, because I was very happy at Liverpool.

‘The Champions League is our big objective and we have to have a strong mentality for these types of games.

‘Liverpool are a side with a very strong mentality, above all at home.

They area great side in attack and defence, so we will have to be alert.

‘They aren’t only about a strong attack.

They have a great side and Anfield has a magnificent atmosphere.

‘ Punters looking to use a free bet might fancy Coutinho to haunt his former side by scoring in Wednesday’s first leg.

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