Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain defends Philippe Coutinho's commitment to Liverpool

18 December 2017

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes it is unfair to question Philippe Coutinho's commitment to Liverpool.

The England midfielder launched a staunch defence of his Brazilian team-mate following the Reds' 4-0 Premier League demolition of Bournemouth.

Creative forward Coutinho made no secret of his desire to leave Anfield during the summer, handing in a transfer request amid repeated rejected bids from Barcelona.

But, after missing the start of the season with a back problem, the 25-year-old has returned in sparkling form, scoring 10 goals in all competitions, including a superb solo effort at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday which set Jurgen Klopp's side on course to a comfortable win.

Interviewed post match alongside Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coutinho was asked whether he wanted to stay at Liverpool until the end of the season.

"I always say the same thing - I try to enjoy the moment," Coutinho told Sky Sports. "I like to play football and every time when I go on the pitch I try my best."

Oxlade-Chamberlain then interrupted, adding: "He's a Liverpool player right now and he's doing really well for us.

"He's been the most professional person I've seen all season; he's been top quality from the start and every time he gives his all for the club.

"That's the most important thing right now.

"It's not fair to ask those kind of questions. He gives us his all every game and that's all you can ask of him."

Liverpool produced a superb display on the south coast, blowing away Bournemouth with first-half goals from Countino, Dejan Lovren and Mohamed Salah before Roberto Firminio completed the scoring.

In-form Egypt forward Salah is the division's leading scorer with 14 goals and now has 20 in all competitions following his fine run and finish on the south coast.

Despite the extraordinary impact of his summer signing from Serie A side Roma, Klopp was reluctant to single out Salah for individual praise.

"As a manager you don't like too much to talk always about Mo; he knows how much I respect him, I like him," the German coach said.

"I don't always think about that, I don't go home and think 'my God, how good is he?' and all the others, that's not how it works.

"(He is) a very important player for us, like the others. But obviously it's for him easy in the moment to finish the situations than for other players. Hopefully it stays like this with Mo."

While Liverpool marched back into the top four with the resounding success, the result deepened Bournemouth's woes, leaving them a point above the relegation zone to the despair of manager Eddie Howe.

"There have not been many times since I became Bournemouth manager that I've felt quite like this after a match," Howe said.

"We were in a relegation battle in our first season, we were in a relegation battle in our second season and we're the same in the third season."