Steven Gerrard has reiterated his desire to keep Philippe Coutinho at Aston Villa on a permanent basis, but has revealed that any move for the Barcelona loanee is more complex than it appears.
The Blaugrana man has been a revelation since moving to Villa Park to play under former Liverpool team-mate Gerrard, and was on the scoresheet again in Thursday's 3-0 win over Leeds United.
Villa have an option to sign Coutinho for a fee around £33 million ($43m), but Gerrard suggested that there will be several hoops to jump through in order to make it a reality.
What has been said?
"I think you all know what my decision would be," Gerrard told Amazon Prime in his post-match comments. "I think you all know what I think of him but this is not as straightforward as people think.
"There is obviously an option in place, Barcelona still own the player. Phil has got to obviously want to be here in terms of the big picture but he is enjoying his football and looks happy and settled.
"I know the owners are very ambitious, so we will just analyse it as we go along. But if it was totally on me and it was my cash you know what I would do."
The bigger picture
The matter of Coutinho's future is only likely to intensify over the coming weeks as Villa look to kick on under Gerrard and secure a strong finish to the Premier League season.
With Barcelona still embroiled in financial issues, a full-time move could well be on the cards, though given Coutinho's reputation in the game, there may well be other offers tabled by rivals.
Villa next play European hopefuls West Ham, before they host Arsenal on March 19.