Carragher: I wasn't convinced by Coutinho last season, now he's their Suarez

Jamie Carragher

Jamie Carragher is impressed by Coutinho's development.

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has hailed playmaker Philippe Coutinho, telling SkySports he feels he has considerably improved this season.

Coutinho proved difficult for Newcastle to handle in Liverpool's 2-0 win at Anfield on Monday night, with his beguiling footwork causing trouble for defenders all game long.

Carragher said after the game that he feels Coutinho has taken the mantle of last season's player of the year Luis Suarez, with nearly all the team's good play going through him.

The pundit admits he was unsure as to whether the Brazilian was where he needed to be last season in terms of performance but is finding him a joy to watch now.

He said: "He's now the man where every time the ball goes (to him) you think something is going to happen here. Even last year when Liverpool were going for the title he was a good player, but I still wasn't convinced he was a real top player.

"Hes getting very close to that now. He's playing for Liverpool every week and looks the best player every week, scored the winner against Blackburn, for me now he's taken over Suarez's role. He's a completely different player, but as the go-to man."

Coutinho was also praised on Monday Night Football by Carragher's co-analyst Gary Neville, who remarked that rather than being the player Liverpool paid £8 million for, he is now worth £25-30 million.

  SeasonGoalsAssistsKey Passes per gameTouches per gamePassing AccuracyAppearances
Philippe Coutinho 2013-2014 5 7 1.97 62.45 81% 33
Philippe Coutinho 2014-2015 4 4 1.48 63 80% 29

In the Premier League this season Coutinho actually has not made as big a statistical jump as his recent eye catching performances may lead you to assume.

He is creating less chances per game, and his touches per game and passing accuracy is pretty much the same as 2013/14.

His goals and assists are fewer than a year ago, but with four less games played there is still time to catch that up. With no Luis Suarez in the side, and Daniel Sturridge largely absent through injury, the performances of Coutinho stand out that little more this time around.

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