Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho has vowed to dump Manchester United out of the Champions League in honour of his former club Liverpool.
United and Liverpool share a bitter rivalry and Coutinho, who spent five years at Anfield between 2013 and 2018 before sealing a lucrative move to Catalonia, knows he will receive a hostile reception from the Old Trafford faithful.
“If they boo myself and Luis Suarez, then that’s normal at Old Trafford because of the team we used to play for, but it won’t make any difference to me,” he told the Spanish media.
“And, even more than that, it is an incentive to play better and to be even more focused.
“I know that games against Manchester United are special. I learned what they meant during my time at Liverpool when we lived it so intensely with the fans.
“I have that nailed in my memory and, even though this is a different stage, if Barcelona knock United out of Europe, it will be a double personal satisfaction for me.”
LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS
‘Ozil should never be captain’ – Vinnie Jones slams Arsenal man after Everton loss
What time is Chelsea v West Ham? Kick-off time, TV and live stream details, team news
Andy Carroll's West Ham career over as surgery rules him out for rest of season
'Up there with Ronaldinho and Messi' – Watford hero is Player of the Weekend
Hatem Ben Arfa nets incredible solo effort to add to his collection of wondergoals
'it's a special place'
Edwin van der Sar admits he's open to potential return to Man United
Every Premier League club’s run-in – from hardest to easiest
'Who wants Bale?' – Spanish press back Madrid star moving to Spurs or Man United
Vinnie Jones: My Hollywood career was sparked by Iain Dowie and rejection at QPR
MADD FOR IT
Arsenal's perfect Ramsey replacement is Premier League ace, says ex-striker
Alternative Premier League table after 33 games, based on expected goals
'He can wear it out now he's a loser' – Deeney mocks Jimenez over mask celebration
Should Barcelona overcome Manchester United and Liverpool beat their last-16 opponents Porto, the pair will meet in the semi-finals – and Coutinho is relishing the opportunity to play against his former club.
“They know that later we could see them at Anfield and then, of course, I will be there with Barcelona wanting to win,” he said.
“It would be a dream to play at Anfield again, an explosion of different feelings, I’m sure.
“But I have to be honest and say I would have preferred to meet Liverpool only in the final itself.”
Coutinho has been linked with a move to Manchester United in recent months after failing to settle with the Blaugrana since his multi-million pound move last term.
He has netted just five goals and provided only two assists in 29 LaLiga matches this season.
And he has admitted every footballer would get excited about playing at Old Trafford, though conceded his side face a very stern test.
He said: “The tie is tough. They have already shown what they can do by knocking out PSG and I think most people would say the tie is 50-50.
LIVE ON talkSPORT
talkSPORT is your home of live football! Here's what's coming up on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2…
- Preston vs Leeds (Tuesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Birmingham vs Sheffield United (Wednesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Slavia Prague vs Chelsea (Thursday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Manchester United vs West Ham (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
- Leeds vs Sheffield Wednesday (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Wigan vs Norwich (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Crystal Palace vs Manchester City (Sunday, 2:05pm) – talkSPORT
“Playing at Old Trafford is one of the best feelings a footballer can have.
“The atmosphere and the history are incredible and if, on top of that, you get a positive result, then it’s very special.
“I don’t have an particular advice for my team-mates because Barcelona are used to playing these big games and to having the second tie at home. Everyone wants to win this tie, not just me.“
“In almost five seasons with Liverpool I had both good and bad results there, so I’m not really thinking about the past. I only think about the present and knocking United out.”