Brendan Rodgers: Philippe Coutinho will be big part of Liverpool story
Brendan Rodgers discusses Philippe Coutinho's new Liverpool deal
Brendan Rodgers says Philippe Coutinho has a big role to play in Liverpool’s future after the Brazilian signed a new long-term contract.
The South American midfielder, whose previous contract ran until 2018, has put pen to paper on an extended deal that will keep him at the club until June 2020.
The 22-year-old has scored 10 goals in 81 appearances for Liverpool since joining from Inter Milan in £8.5m transfer in January 2013.
And Liverpool boss Rodgers was pleased with Coutinho’s decision to extend his stay.
“I’m delighted that Philippe has committed his long-term future to us; he is clearly going to be a big part of our story in the years to come,” Rodgers told Liverpool’s website.
“The most exciting thing isn’t just how good he is now, it’s the further improvement he can make in his game. In terms of potential, he can still become even better.
“He deserves all the credit in the world for the attitude he has shown since coming to Liverpool.
“He arrived as a young man, in a country he’d never lived in before and joined a club where expectations are high. He has shown a willingness to listen, learn and improve.”
The Brazilian struggled to adapt to life back in Italy and former Inter Milan manager Andrea Stramaccioni didn’t consider him to be part of his plans.
However, Coutinho has become a regular in the Liverpool first-team and crucial in his No10 role following his Reds move.
Coutinho adapted quickly at Anfield, and the midfielder’s excellent form last season nearly helped Liverpool win the Premier League title.
And while he, like Liverpool, have had a difficult start to the season, the Brazilian has rediscovered his old self and helped drive the team forward in their recent seven-match unbeaten run in the league.
Rodgers reckons Coutinho has grown immensely in all aspects of his individual game, adding: “He has shown resilience in adapting to the environment and has embraced everything we have asked of him.
“I love working with players like Philippe; he has an attitude to match his talent, but underlying all of that is a humble approach to his work and his life.
“It is my hope now that he continues with his improvement and development and becomes a figurehead for this exciting, vibrant, youthful squad of players, as we look to grow as a group and achieve success together.”