Marseille‘s Maxime Lopez was told he would replace Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool if he were to move to Anfield.
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.
Due to his playing style and rise through the Marseille ranks, Lopez has often been likened to the club’s former academy star Samir Nasri.
And the teenager was recently offered a similar route to the Premier League as his compatriot was back in 2008 when he joined Arsenal.
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.
Lopez told L’Equipe: “They [Liverpool] said to me, ‘in five years you get Coutinho’s place’. 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 thirty young professional players, not to mention the incumbents. You really have to be mentally prepared.”
Even though Coutinho signed a new five-year contract at Liverpool in January, the 24-year-old is still being strongly linked with a move to La Liga giants Barcelona.
With the Reds yet to secure Champions League football next season, it is feasible that the former Inter Milan midfielder would consider a transfer to the Camp Nou if a serious offer was made.
Even though Coutinho is enduring a somewhat underwhelming season at Anfield, Lopez’s output in France’s top tier this season is encouraging in comparison.
In terms of his creativity, the Marseille playmaker isn’t too far behind the Brazilian star who is often regarded as
Liverpool’s catalyst in the final third.
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