The 21-year-old former Inter Milan playmaker has been hailed by many as Liverpool’s best signing in recent years – although players such as Andy Carroll, Steward Downing and Christian Poulsen, of course, offer little competition.
The Brazilian arrived on Merseyside in January 2013, and in little over a year has become one of Liverpool’s outstanding performers. His transfer fee of £8.5m makes a mockery of the £37m Manchester United spent on Mata, and the record £42.4m Arsenal splashed out on German international Mesut Ozil.
Rodgers has managed to fit Coutinho, Suarez and Steven Gerrard in a system which brings the best out of each player. Suarez, of course, has been in the goalscoring form of his life, and Gerrard is having his most productive season in a long time – both of which can be attributed to Coutinho’s presence.
The Liverpool ace has started 19 Premier League games this season, contributing with (in total) seven goals and assists. With the ball seemingly glued to his foot on occasion, Coutinho has successfully completed 44 dribbles, and has recorded 72 shots on goal.
The Liverpool manager has hailed his star, likening his quality and style to that of former Chelsea ace Deco, saying: 'Philippe has been a snip. He’s an absolutely wonderful talent. There are very few players at this level now who can penetrate with a pass and play through teams like he does. The quality and weight of his passes is sensational'.
Rodgers spoke of the Deco comparison: 'When I worked at Chelsea I used to watch Deco. He was a bit older than Coutinho is, but I still remember his first training session when he got a round of applause. Coutinho is like that. He has pure quality and can make the difference in games'.
Is Philippe Coutinho the best signing in Liverpool's recent history ?
image: © Dean Jones