Former Inter Milan midfielder Philippe Coutinho has arrived, and brought with him that touch of Brazilian excitement with him.
At just 16-years-old Inter Milan snapped up the youngster, whom was dubbed ‘the top Brazilian player of his generation.’
But because most Brazilians players don’t hold an EU passport, Inter had to put their faith in him for two years until his 18th birthday – the point at which he was eligible to enter the EU.
His arrival was the ‘talk of the town’ in July 2010. The Italian media were all buzzing around this young, exciting talent from Brazil.
After all the praise and pressure of high expectations, Coutinho’s role unfortunately became that of substitute. His appearances became more and more sporadic in Inter’s 2010/2011 season.
In the 2011 Under 20 World Cup Coutinho managed bounced back from what looked like a nose-dive in his early career.
A string of impressive displays followed by three important goals, gave the 18-year old belief that he could regain his place and establish himself at Inter Milan.
However, fending off the likes of Sneijder, Muntari and Cambiasso was a task too much for the little Brazilian, and so he was loaned out to Spanish side Espanyol.
His season with Espanyol proved to be his platform to the Premier League. Scoring 5 goals in 16 appearances, along with skilful displays, convinced Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers to make a move for him.
What to expect from Coutinho
After arriving at Anfield mid-way through last season, Coutinho was something of an unknown quality.
The media, as usual, created a ‘Brazilian wonderkid’ hype, so the fans seemed to have a rough idea of what he should be like.
Personally, I expected Coutinho to slot comfortably on the bench, appearing every now and then. Only because this was mid-way through the campaign, the team was set and flowing, and Coutinho is young with no Premier League experience.
The odds were stacked against him. 20-years-old, coming in halfway through the season and Brazilian. By that I mean the Brazilian players that have been and gone haven’t lived up to their potential.
The likes of Robinho, Jo and Alfonso Alves didn’t set the Premier League alight as we hoped.
But Rodgers must have been impressed with Coutinho’s determination and desire to play straight away. He jumped straight in to the number 10 shirt and really won the fans over – the Brazilian way.
His skill, creativity and passing – all at which he can do in the blink of an eye gave and will hopefully continue to give Liverpool some much needed colour to their play.
And what I love to see, is someone smashing a stereotype, and Coutinho has, so far, done so. It could be the start of an exciting career at Anfield for the youngster.
But he must beware of a backlash. Defenders around the Premier League have caught wind of this wonderkid, and will make sure they can suppress his blossoming talent.
Coutinho's brilliant Liverpool career so far