Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho: What you need to know
In case you were living under a rock for the past 6 months or have had no affiliation with the footballing world then chances are you've not heard of Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool's number 10.
The average fan knows Liverpool signed him from Inter Milan in January but more than likely that’s it.
Well the player at the tender age of just 20 has a wealth of experience that he brings to the team and is already capped at International level.
He's a well-travelled player, having started his career as part of Vasco da Gama's youth system and was bought by Internazionale in 2008, (at the age of 16) and has also played in La Liga for Espanyol in 2012 (on-loan from Internazionale).
He arrived at Liverpool in January of 2013 and fans were eager to see what the Brazilian was about.
A lot has been said about players moving to big clubs and needing time to settle into their new surroundings, but from the off it’s been clear that Coutinho isn't one of them.
Coutinho has adapted immediately, undermining the excuse often peddled out that new signings need time to show their class.
In a recent interview with the Telegraph he stated that he has settled into life at Liverpool quickly - and it’s shown already.
His linkup with Luis Suarez has bore fruit on the pitch already; and there is talk of the pair making a partnership to rival the greats of the past: Hunt and St John, Dalglish and Rush, Beardsley and Aldridge.
In the Telegraph interview he said: “Yes, I hope so, I hope that happens in future and we achieve great things,” he said. “Suarez is a fantastic player. It is an honour for me to play with him".
“It is so much easier to play alongside a player like him because he is always on the move, he never stays still.
“When you have the ball it is much better for you to have a player like that because you can open the defence much more.
“We always communicate on the pitch in Spanish, he speaks Spanish and I understand it. I spent six months in Spain so can get by quite well with it. It is not only him. The other players are always trying to help me get better."
Coutinho admitted Brendan Rodgers has been deploying him in a position he likes and feels most suited to: "He’s playing me in the position I like best, on the left, but able to come inside.”
From what we've seen so far, the combination of Suarez, Coutinho and Jose Enrique has worked well down the left side of the field, often with stunning results.
Liverpool did manage to score eight goals in two games (against Tottenham & Swansea), all three players bagged at least one of them and the trio were involved in seven of the strikes (all bar Stewart Downing’s equaliser against Spurs).
In Liverpool’s demolishing of Wigan the Brazilian was moved up to the left of the front three with Suarez being the central striker and this approach returned amazing results, with Coutinho creating goals for Downing and Suarez, while the 20-year-old also supplied a goal for Henderson at Aston Villa from this position with a glorious through ball.
If Liverpool can recruit another gem like Coutinho on the right hand side of the attack then the attacking prowess of this Anfield side will be clear to see.
With a right sided player who has more of a forward’s instinct than Downing, Coutinho would be able to play a deeper role and pop up in tandem with Suarez and his role as a supplier would become even greater, this is a responsibility than he has already shown he can handle.
Come August time and the start of the new season Coutinho is likely to be of the key men in Brendan Rodgers new look Liverpool squad and if the early signs are anything to go by there will be nobody doubting the talent of Liverpool's number 10.
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