Former Brazil defender Lucio has urged his "good friend" Philippe Coutinho to snub any potential interest from Barcelona and continue at Liverpool. He believes the midfielder can become a legend at Anfield, if he decides to commit his future to the Reds.
Spanish newspaper Sport reported the treble winners had identified the Brazil international as a perfect replacement for Pedro, who joined Chelsea in the summer. Barcelona director Robert Fernandez also admitted the 23-year-old is a "good player with very good conditions" and refused to rule out a January move for the South American star.
Coutinho's agent Kia Joorabchian ruled out any move away from Liverpool for his client. Lucio, who is currently playing for Indian Super League (ISL) side FC Goa, has backed his compatriot to become a very big player for the Merseyside club in the future.
"If it was my decision, I would stay. If I was Coutinho, I would not leave Liverpool," Luico told IBTimes UK.
"Barcelona have several star players like Messi, Suarez and Neymar. If Coutinho joins Barcelona, he has to play wherever the coach wants him to play, which would be to fill in here and there."
"In the last season, Coutinho was the standout player for Liverpool. He can continue there and can go on to become a very big player for them. Regarding his future, it is a decision only Coutinho could take, but as a friend I would suggest him to stay at Liverpool."
"Coutinho is my very good friend. I want to talk more about him, my friend. One thing in Europe is they not only want you to be a good player, but a good athlete. Apart from footballing characteristics, one has to look after themselves and that is what managers and coaches insist on."
"Discipline is very important to become a top player. If a player has that, he will be successful wherever he is going to play. I am sure Coutinho will do well wherever he is going to play," he added.
Luico picked up a muscle injury during FC Goa's 4-0 defeat at the hands of Chennaiyin FC. He did not feature during his side's victory over NorthEast United in the ISL. The World Cup winner with Brazil said he is improving, but the primary focus for FC Goa - who are managed by another Brazilian Zico – is to get more wins in the upcoming matches.
"I am improving and I am happy the team could get a result. It is important that team wins. The players are just beginning to play together and the performances will only improve as the season progresses," the defender explained.