Brilliant Brazilian on cusp of new deal…
Liverpool are set to reward Philippe Coutinho for his strong recent form with a contract extension and pay rise, reports the Daily Mail.
The 22-year-old Brazilian international’s contract currently expires in 2018, but a revised four-and-half year deal, which will run until 2019 is close to being signed.
Coutinho played a vital role in our title challenge in 2013/14, but after receiving a call-up for his country, his form dropped off earlier this term, and he was in and out of the side.
Since we reverted to a 3-4-3 though, he’s been probably our best player, winning Liverpool Player of the Month awards in both November and December, and he won’t be too far off collecting it for January as well.
“He was outstanding the other night,” Brendan Rodgers said.
“It was a difficult start to the season for him because if you think of Phil Coutinho, he has that bit of magic to make the key pass in the final third and combines with people ahead of him so well.
“Last year he had a [Luis] Suarez and a [Daniel] Sturridge to make those passes to and he could work well with their style.
“At the beginning of this season, he didn’t have that. Probably until six or seven weeks ago, his ability to make that threaded pass through wasn’t on because he didn’t have that [energy and movement upfront].’
“We had to look at how to bring out the best in all our players, and once he’s had mobility, energy and speed around him, it’s lifted his game.
“He’s a class act, and he’s still got so much growth and development to undertake here.”
Along with Daniel Sturridge, Coutinho has to go down as Brendan Rodgers’ best signing so far since he became boss, securing him for a bargain £8.5m in January 2013.
From now until the end of the season, we’ll want Coutinho to add more consistent goals and assists to his excellent play.