Brendan Rodgers says he is so delighted with Philippe Coutinho
Brendan Rodgers says he is so delighted with Philippe Coutinho that he would even pay to watch him play.
The young Brazilian scored one goal and made another for Iago Aspas in Liverpool’s final tour game in Asia – a 3-0 win over Bangkok in Thailand.
Rodgers said of the 21-year-old: “Coutinho had me up off my seat. He’s a player you would pay money to watch because he’s just a delight on the ball.”
The little midfielder, who cost just £8.5m from Inter Milan in January, has turned into a real bargain buy for the Merseysiders.
Rodgers said: “He’s a real find for us, in terms of the price we have paid, and hopefully his value will be much greater than the cost in the coming years.”
Coutinho has scored a number of spectacular goals and although he is only 5ft 6in tall, Rodgers believes he can really handle himself against the toughest Premier League defenders.
He said: “Don’t worry, he can look after himself – you can see he can use his body if needs be.
“Of course, he has to become adapted to the physical game here because it is very physical, but you can see already he has genuine man-strength.
“That strength will grow even more, the longer he is in the country and gets physically that bit stronger and gets up with the tempo.”
Liverpool returned home yesterday after a tour of Indonesia, Australia and Thailand that proved to be an unqualified success both on and off the pitch.
Rodgers was delighted with the work-rate and effort of his players ahead of their Premier League opener at home to Stoke on August 17.
He said: “It’s been an amazing couple of weeks. We went out there with a number of objectives on and off the field and I think we have achieved them all and more.
“We got a lot of work done over there and we’re in good shape at this point in pre-season.
“We still have a few weeks yet to really step it up but I’m pleased with where we’re at.
“The biggest thing has been the application of the players, who have been brilliant in everything they’ve done.
“We scored three fantastic goals in our final game but equal to that was our work-rate – you could see that the focus and mentality of the team is very good.
“Everyone out there was fighting, pressing and working to get the ball back quickly and then we earned the right to play.
“Now we’ll have a recovery period after all this travelling and then we’ll get going again.”