Midfielder confirms Liverpool approach to become ‘Coutinho replacement’

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Young playmaker Maxime Lopez says he was wanted as a long-term successor to Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool, only to reject the club’s advances

According to French newspaper L’Equipe, Marseille starlet was subject of interest from the Merseyside club at the end of 2016, with Arsenal also pursuing the 19-year-old.

Speaking to French publication L’Equipe, Lopez claimed Jurgen Klopp’s side had made an offer, with the incentive of taking over from Coutinho in the future.

“They said to me: ‘In five years you get Coutinho’s place!’,” he is quoted.

“They approached me in a good way. I even met Steven Gerrard at the stadium after a game.

“I wanted to go there, but also to stay at Marseille. To go like that, at this age and even with your family, is very hard.

“I had noticed that they had 30 young professional players, not to mention the [youth players]. You really have to be mentally prepared.”

Lopez has since signed a new long-term contract with Stade Vélodrome club.

The France U20 international has netted once and registered seven assists in 26 appearances for Les Phocéens so far this season, and typically operates in a creative role in central midfield.

Rudi Garcia’s man are currently fifth in France’s top flight, but way off the pace in the fight for Champions League football, 18 points behind third-placed Nice.