Liverpool told me I'd replace Coutinho, says Marseille star Lopez
Maxime Lopez says he was wanted as a long-term successor to Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool, only to reject the club's advances.
Rising Marseille star Maxime Lopez claims he turned down the chance to join Liverpool two seasons ago.
The 19-year-old has forced his way into Rudi Garcia's first-team plans at Stade Velodrome this term, making 22 starts in all competitions.
Barcelona have been linked with a move for the midfielder but he pledged his future to Marseille only last month by signing a new four-year contract.
Lopez has now said that he could have moved to Anfield in the 2014-15 campaign as a long-term replacement for Brazil star Philippe Coutinho, who was himself linked with Barca before renewing his own contract in January.
Confirming concrete interest from Liverpool he told L'Equipe: "They said to me: 'In five years, you'll be playing in Coutino's spot'. They approached me in a positive way. I even met Steven Gerrard at the stadium after the game.
"I wanted to go there but I also wanted to stay at OM. Leaving like that, at that age - even with your family - is very tough. I noted that they had a squad of 30 youth players, not to mention the first-team players. You really have to be mentally prepared."
Coutinho has been linked with a move away from Liverpool for quite some time now. Barcelona are said to be keen on signing the Brazilian midfielder while Paris Saint-German are also said to be keeping an eye on him.
The Liverpool star eventually signed a new long-term contract at Anfield this season and is expected to remain at the club at least another 2 seasons. Ronaldinho and Neymar are said to be persuading the midfielder to join the Calatan giants this summer.