Highly sought after by the Nerazzurri during his early teenage days at Vasco da Gama, the San Siro giants went to great lengths to secure his services.
At just 16 the northern Italian outfit landed his signature – waiting two years in great anticipation to bring him across the Atlantic from his native Brazil.
Despite his promise, however, Coutinho never philosophically arrived at Inter. Fitness issues, problems adapting to Serie A and a lack of stability at the helm for the Milanese club all prevented him from flourishing.
In January 2012 he would be sent to Espanyol for a short loan spell, and just 12 months later would move to Anfield to the tune of £8.5m – the Benemeata’s patience having expired after only 28 league showings.
But following his trials in Italy, he’s endeared himself to Reds supporters in his maiden year on Merseyside – already surpassing his Serie A totals for goals, assists and appearances in the Premier League.
And it’s consistent faith placed in him – as well as the differing style of his new environs – that Coutinho sees as central to his success.
“It’s about getting a run of games,” he told Sambafoot. “Every player needs this.
“At Inter it didn’t happen.
“English football is quicker and more dynamic – this has also helped me.”
The Brazilian stands at the centre of Brendan Rodgers’ ambitions of returning Liverpool to glories of old – the Reds bursting back into the upper reaches of the table this term, in solid position for Champions League qualification at present.
And Coutinho has stood toe-to-toe with the Premier League’s top playmakers in the process on a statistical level.
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His exploits have led some to call for his inclusion at the coming World Cup, Oscar a direct competitor of his in this regard, and based on these figures appeals look merited.
Yet Coutinho appears inclined to keep his head down and keep working in view of the summer’s events, however – even if he admits he has eyes for Brazil.
“The competition for a place is great but I’m part of that competition,” he said of the Selecao.
“It’s my great dream. I live in the hope of being called-up to help Brazil.”
image: © Dean Jones