​Roberto Firmino has admitted it would be "awful" for Liverpool to sell Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.

Coutinho has reportedly handed in a transfer request and was absent from Liverpool's opening Premier League fixture against Watford, with a back injury given as the official reasoning for the Brazil international's omission from the squad.

Speaking as quoted by the Liverpool Echo, Firmino said: "I prefer to not think of this (Coutinho leaving) because it would be awful. He's a great player but also a great friend to me.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Premier League

"It is normal that great teams are interested in his football but my concentration is now on the team.

"My objective is to win cups with Liverpool so I can enter the history of this club.

"This season is a special season because it is World Cup season. From childhood, I had the dream to play the World Cup.

"To be selected to the World Cup, I need to have my best season with Liverpool. Tite is a coach who rewards hard work at clubs."


Coutinho was a central figure for Liverpool last season as the Reds finished fourth in the Premier League, reaching the qualifying stages of the Champions League.

Jurgen Klopp's side play the first leg of their play-off tie against Hoffenheim on Tuesday, but Coutinho will again be missing due to injury as Liverpool attempt to reach the group stages of Europe's elite club competition.

Coutinho was impressive last season, contributing 13 goals and seven assists for Liverpool in 31 Premier League appearances.