Philippe Coutinho vows to stay with Liverpool after Champions League lift

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Philippe Coutinho was once again asked as to the possibility of a summer move to Barcelona, but insisted he is set to remain with Liverpool.

The Reds playmaker scored the second goal in Sunday’s 3-0 victory at home to Middlesbrough, sealing a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side now face a Champions League playoff in August, and will be seeded for the draw, ensuring a more favourable two-legged tie.

This should give Liverpool the best chance possible of qualifying for next season’s tournament, which would serve as just reward for Coutinho’s performances throughout 2016/17.

Speaking to ESPN Brasil after the game, however, Coutinho was forced to address speculation over a possible move to Barcelona.

But the 24-year-old, who signed a new five-year deal with the Reds in January, stressed his commitment to Merseyside.

“I have a long contract with Liverpool,” he said. “Speculation is for journalists only.”

“We started the season very well, I started well. But then in the middle the performance regressed,” he added.

“Then we bounced back, I finished the season at a high level.

“The whole team is playing well, today was a very important victory, next season it’s the Champions League.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 21, 2017: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia scores the second goal against Middlesbrough during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Coutinho’s strike at Anfield on Sunday ensured he ended the campaign as Liverpool’s top goalscorer, leapfrogging Sadio Mane with 14.

He also laid on nine goals, with only Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum (both 11) assisting more, highlighting his all-round influence in the final third.

In the final two games of the season, Jurgen Klopp utilised Coutinho in a deeper midfield role, hinting at a possible shift in direction next season.

It certainly paid off, with three goals and an assist, as the Brazilian spearheaded a late surge of form for the Reds.

Coutinho is now set to join his Liverpool team-mates on their flight to Australia, for a post-season friendly against Sydney FC on May 24—the first of two trips Down Under.

He has also been named in the Brazil squad for friendlies against Argentina and Australia in Melbourne in June, with little rest for the Reds’ No. 10.

Sydney clearly won’t be his last game for the club, however, with Klopp now set to lead his side into the Champions League, with Coutinho taking the starring role.

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