When Liverpool signed Coutinho for £8.5m in January 2013, BBC Sport ran a feature entitled: ‘Philippe Coutinho a transfer gamble for Liverpool’
Four years later it’s clear that apparent gamble paid off!
He’s just been awarded a contract extension until 2022, is Liverpool’s highest paid player on £150k/week and is Jurgen Klopp’s most influential offensive creative threat.
But in 2013, he was out of favour at Inter Milan since our former boss Rafa Benitez had left and been replaced by Leonardo. Coutinho hadn’t been able to force himself into the side under Claudio Ranieri either and was allowed to leave for what now seems a terrible piece of business by the Italians.
Andrea Ramazzotti, who covers Inter for Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport and watched all Coutinho’s 28 games for the club, told BBC Sport at the time: “He just didn’t show his potential in Milan.
“Coutinho played very well when he was on loan at Espanyol last season and started well for Inter this season, but they were only brief spells really.
“For the rest of the time, he just showed flashes of his potential and I fear the way of playing in England, which can be very physical, will not suit him because he has a slight frame.”
Thankfully, Liverpool as a city and club has helped develop Coutinho immensely, as has the difficulty, speed and physical nature of the Premier League which many believed he’d struggle with.
In fact, the chance to play at pace, which maximises the effectiveness of players with great football brains, has in turn maximised our talisman.
Now he’s signed a new deal, we hope to see him go onto yet another level!