Garth Crooks points out a problem Brendan Rodgers faces with Philippe Coutinho

Coutinho Liverpool

Philippe Coutinho has been in superb form for Liverpool in recent weeks and scored the winner against Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday.

Former Tottenham Hotspur forward Garth Crooks has written on BBC Sport about a problem that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers faces with Philippe Coutinho.

Coutinho has been in impressive form for Liverpool in recent weeks and has been a key figure in the Reds’ rise up the Premier League table.

The Brazil international attacking midfielder was in top form against defending English champions Manchester City on Sunday, scoring the winner in the 75th minute.

The 22-year-old’s overall performance against the Citizens at Anfield was also impressive, as he ended up with four shots, 72% pass accuracy, one chance created, one cross and eight dribbles.

Crooks was impressed with Coutinho yet again and included him in his BBC Sport’s Premier League Team of the Week.

However, the 56-year-old pointed out what he views as a potential problem in the coming months.

“I'm not surprised that he is growing with every game in the absence of club captain Steven Gerrard,” wrote Crooks on BBC Sport.

“I’ve been in enough dressing rooms over the years to note that senior players, however exceptional, have the ability to intimidate younger professionals.

“It will be fascinating to observe how Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers handles the situation between now and the end of the season.”

It seems that Crooks is suggesting that Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard may not be too happy that Coutinho is playing well and keeping him out of the starting line-up.

While the former Stoke City striker is right in claiming that younger players can be intimidated by big-name stars, one suspects that with Gerrard there is no such problem.

The former England international midfielder would certainly want to play more often and end his final months as a Liverpool player on a high, but over the years he has shown that he always puts the club before himself.

If Coutinho continues to play well and Liverpool eventually finish in the top four of the Premier League this season, then Gerrard will be one of the first players to celebrate it.

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