Brazilian legend says he almost signed for Liverpool

On Saturday, Coutinho became the highest scoring Brazilian in the history of English league football, overtaking Middlesbrough icon Juninho.

Coutinho is on 30 goals and we hope to see him plunder plenty more over the coming years, having signed a contract extension in January.

It turns out that Coutinho could have been directly following in Juninho’s footsteps on Merseyside, with the elder Brazilian admitting he almost signed for us in 1997.

“If l could go back to the past, l would never leave English football when I did,” he told the Daily Mail.

“I had the chance to go to Liverpool in 1997. The manager [Roy Evans] spoke to my father but I had already given my word to Atletico Madrid.”

The playmaker went on to enjoy a successful career, winning the World Cup in 2002, although away from ‘Boro, he never truly fulfilled his crazy potential.

How he’d have got on at Liverpool is unknown, but we were not utilising a system at that time that would have maximised a diminutive no.10.

Juninho also lavished praise on Coutinho, suggesting that after Neymar, he’s the best Brazilian currently playing football – an enormous compliment considering that icons like Marcelo and Dani Alves are still playing.

“I am delighted that he takes my record. I can’t think of anyone better – the record couldn’t be in better hands,” he said.

“Coutinho can be considered, after Neymar, the best player in Brazil. He’s different class and he deserves everything he is achieving because he has worked very hard for it.

“If you have an intelligence to your game then you can find the space on the pitch and because the game in England is so fast that means a lot of the time it is also very open.

“One of Coutinho’s biggest qualities is that ability to find the space. People think that type of player will have more difficulties adapting to English football than say Spanish football but in England I found a lot more space than I did in Spain. The intensity is there but if you get past the first wave of pressure then the pitch opens up.”