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Liverpool said I could replace Coutinho, says former target

Maxime Lopez

Marseille midfielder Maxime Lopez has admitted that he turned down a move to Liverpool to concentrate on his career in France.

The 19-year-old, a regular in Marseille’s team since October, says the opportunity to move overseas came too soon in his career.

Liverpool apparently had so much confidence in him that they told him he had the potential to replace Philippe Coutinho one day.

Lopez said: “They said to me: ‘In five years you get Coutinho’s place’.

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“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 regulars. You really have to be mentally prepared.”

Lopez signed a new 4-year contract with Marseille last month following our interest.