Philippe Coutinho: Liverpool need to focus on Europa League

Philippe Coutinho challenges Liverpool to win the Europa League ahead of Besiktas clash

Philippe Coutinho says winning trophies is vital for Liverpool ahead of the start of their Europa League campaign.

Liverpool face Turkish side Besiktas in the first leg of their last-32 tie at Anfield on Thursday night.

And Coutinho, who was named the club’s player of the month for January, wants the Reds to focus their energy on the Europe’s second-tier competition.

“I think the most important thing is the cup – we have to think about the cup,” Coutinho told Liverpool’s website. “Of course, there are other benefits of winning the title, like the qualification for the Champions League.

“But we also have the chance to finish in the Premier League top four, and the most important thing is to always be fighting for trophies.”

Brendan Rodgers’ side dropped down to the Europa League after the Reds finished in third place in their Champions League group behind Real Madrid and Basel.

Liverpool are only four points adrift of fourth-placed Southampton in the league, but the Reds can qualify for Europe’s premier club competition if they win the Europa League.

However, Coutinho isn’t thinking about the alternative route into the Champions League, insisting that it is vital the Reds end a three-year trophy drought.

“The Europa League is an important cup and Liverpool are a big club that have won many trophies,” Coutinho added.

“We as players are aware that we will have to do everything to win more trophies for Liverpool because they are important – they stand out. We are all looking forward to the challenges and we will do our best to win a trophy.”

The Reds haven’t won a major honour since their 2012 League Cup win, which ended a six-year run without silverware.

Liverpool were rewarded for a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday night with a home draw against Blackburn Rovers in FA Cup quarter-final draw.

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