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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.

maxime lopez - cropped
Marseille midfielder Maxime Lopez

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.

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