New deal for Philippe Coutinho as the Reds make most important signing of the January transfer window.
Philippe Coutinho has agreed a new deal with Liverpool, according to reports across UK press, with interesting quotes from Brendan Rodgers on how he sees the Brazilian developing.
While Coutinho has long been considered a number ten style player, but Rodgers has compared him with midfielders who tend to play a deeper role.
That may be in part because he has only managed two goals and four assists in the Premier League so far this season – and two of those assists were in the weekend’s victory over West Ham United.
Despite those key numbers, the 22 year-old has become a real cog in the way we play.
“You look at Modric, he doesn’t have a big goal scoring record but he is a world class player,” said Rodgers, speaking to the Liverpool Echo.
“He is a continuity player, a top class player who can create the game and so importantly, opens the door for the team in the centre of midfield. Toni Kroos is another of that type of wonderful footballer – great passer.
“Those two maybe don’t get as many goal as their technique suggests, but that goes back to their role in the team, to sit behind the ball and serve the ball and create the game for others – not necessarily to score 15 or 20 goals a season.
“Phil’s numbers will improve, but it’s not the be all and end all if he doesn’t get 15 or 20, his functions are elsewhere in the team.”
It’s an interesting take from Brendan Rodgers. With Raheem Sterling adapting to a role as a striker, one might expect Coutinho to start playing at the tip of the diamond in midfield – should we revert back to a four.
However, instead, it sounds as if Rodgers is planning for us to play three in central midfield, with Coutinho alongside a more defensive player in the deeper pair with another midfielder – perhaps Adam Lallana – further forward.
Given all that, perhaps Rodgers is eyeing Coutinho as a replacement for Steven Gerrard.
The Brazilian has the passing range, the creativity, and an impressive tenacity, and given the diminishing numbers of true box to box midfielders in the modern game, perhaps Rodgers’ plan makes sense.
Coutinho’s new deal will run until 2020, and it’s great to see we’ll be building our team around him going forward.
While the January transfer window was not as active as perhaps we might have liked, the return of Daniel Sturridge, and Coutinho’s new deal provide plenty of optimism for Reds.
Hopefully Raheem Sterling will follow suit.