Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy understands Philippe Coutinho's desire to leave the Reds for Barcelona and is pleased with the way the Brazilian has performed despite being denied a move to the Camp Nou in the summer.
The Spanish league leaders saw a number of bids rejected for Coutinho, who had a transfer request immediately dismissed by Jurgen Klopp's side in the summer. The former Inter Milan starlet has since flourished playing alongside the likes of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, and was even made captain by Klopp for their Champions League clash against Spartak Moscow, who more than felt the Brazilian's wrath as he plundered a hat-trick.
The Liverpool captaincy and the opportunity make up part of the 'Fab Four' seemingly isn't enough for Coutinho, though. The Brazilian left the door open to a move to Barcelona in the coming months by refusing to commit his future to Anfield last week, and Murphy, who spent eight years with the Reds before playing for the likes of Charlton Athletic, Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur, does not loathe Coutinho for wanting to try his hand at Barca. However, he stressed a move to the Nou Camp would not have tempted him away from his boyhood club.
"I wasn't angry with Coutinho at all – he's not like me. Liverpool isn't his team," Murphy said in an interview with AskFans, relayed by the Liverpool Echo. "I came out with something and people gave me stick – I wouldn't ever leave Liverpool for Barcelona, even if I was as good as Coutinho, because Liverpool was the only place I ever wanted to be.
"That's true – that's just me. It doesn't mean that's right – but that's me. But he's not brought up watching Liverpool with his old man. The Brazilian lads and Coutinho probably grew up thinking about Barcelona and Real more than he did Liverpool and [Manchester] United."
Coutinho did not exactly enhance his popularity when he submitted a transfer request at Anfield in August, but Murphy saw fit to commend the Brazilian for his response to missing out on a move to Barcelona.
The 25-year-old has scored nine goals and laid on six assists for Klopp's side already this season, and Murphy thinks his ability to turn in displays of the highest calibre for a team he wishes to leave is a testament to his character, and won't go unnoticed by the Blaugrana, who are apparently preparing a bid of £114.7m ($153m) for the former Vasco de Gama youth graduate.
"I understand his thinking. I think he dealt with it quite well up until the last point when he was probably pushed into a corner to ask to leave," Murphy said.
"What I do like about Coutinho, apart from his obvious talent, is how he's reacted. There's not this whinging and poor body language. It says a lot about him.
"If I am watching from afar, as Barcelona or Madrid, you think he's got character. Full marks to him!"