Manchester United vs Barcelona: Philippe Coutinho ‘only thinking’ about knocking Liverpool’s rivals out of Champions League
United and Liverpool share a bitter rivalry and Coutinho, who spent five years at Anfield between 2013 and 2018 before sealing a lucrative move to Catalonia, knows he will receive a hostile reception from the Old Trafford faithful.
“If they boo myself and Luis Suarez, then that’s normal at Old Trafford because of the team we used to play for, but it won’t make any difference to me,” he told the Spanish media.
“And, even more than that, it is an incentive to play better and to be even more focused.
“I know that games against Manchester United are special. I learned what they meant during my time at Liverpool when we lived it so intensely with the fans.
“I have that nailed in my memory and, even though this is a different stage, if Barcelona knock United out of Europe, it will be a double personal satisfaction for me.”
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Should Barcelona overcome Manchester United and Liverpool beat their last-16 opponents Porto, the pair will meet in the semi-finals – and Coutinho is relishing the opportunity to play against his former club.
“They know that later we could see them at Anfield and then, of course, I will be there with Barcelona wanting to win,” he said.
“It would be a dream to play at Anfield again, an explosion of different feelings, I’m sure.
“But I have to be honest and say I would have preferred to meet Liverpool only in the final itself.”
Coutinho has been linked with a move to Manchester United in recent months after failing to settle with the Blaugrana since his multi-million pound move last term.
He has netted just five goals and provided only two assists in 29 LaLiga matches this season.
And he has admitted every footballer would get excited about playing at Old Trafford, though conceded his side face a very stern test.
He said: “The tie is tough. They have already shown what they can do by knocking out PSG and I think most people would say the tie is 50-50.
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“Playing at Old Trafford is one of the best feelings a footballer can have.
“The atmosphere and the history are incredible and if, on top of that, you get a positive result, then it’s very special.
“I don’t have an particular advice for my team-mates because Barcelona are used to playing these big games and to having the second tie at home. Everyone wants to win this tie, not just me.“
“In almost five seasons with Liverpool I had both good and bad results there, so I’m not really thinking about the past. I only think about the present and knocking United out.”
Source: SportsLatest TS