Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: "Top quality" Coutinho remains fully focused on Liverpool

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: "Top quality" Coutinho remains fully focused on Liverpool

Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain leapt to the defence of "top quality" team-mate Philippe Coutinho after the Brazilian was asked about links to Barcelona following the Reds' 4-0 win at Bournemouth.

Charlie Malam

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain insists Philippe Coutinho is giving his all at Liverpool despite continued speculation over his team-mate's long-term future at the club.

The Brazilian scored his 10th goal of the season and his 50th for the Reds overall with a sumptuous solo goal, jinking into the box to slot inside the near post and put his side 1-0 up away at Bournemouth.

Coutinho also later laid on compatriot Roberto Firmino's goal with a cross as the visitors ran out 4-0 winners at the Vitality Stadium to move back into the Premier League's top four.

But in a post-match interview for broadcasters Sky Sports, the midfielder was posed tricky questions about a potential move to Barcelona - with Oxlade-Chamberlain quickly leaping to his defence.

Coutinho agitated for a move to the Catalan giants in the summer but Liverpool turned down three bids - including one in excess of £120 million - and held out to keep him for at least the first half of the 2017-18 campaign.

Oxlade-Chamberlain praises "top quality" Coutinho

"I always say the same thing. I try to enjoy the moment. I like to play football and every time I go inside of the pitch I try my best," Coutinho said when quizzed about his future. "I enjoy the moment."

Oxlade-Chamberlain quickly interjected to help Coutinho out, declaring that the No.10 is "a Liverpool player right now" and hailing him for "doing really well" in spite of constant links to Barcelona in the press.

The England international said: "He's the most professional person I've seen all season, he's been top quality from the start and every time he gets on the pitch he does his all for the club."

He called Coutinho's contributions "the most important thing right now" and said it is "not fair" to ask him questions about his future, reiterating: "He gives us his all every game and that's all we can ask him."

Coutinho was also asked about whether his first-half goal was his best ever strike for Liverpool, but focused more on the benefit of getting back to winning ways after successive draws.

"I don't know, it was a nice goal but for me the most important thing is for me Liverpool getting better and winning the game," he said. "We deserved it and we got the points."