A goal and two assists in his first two and a half hours in English football has seen Philippe Coutinho off to a flying start for Liverpool, and after arriving towards the end of January for a little more than £8M the young Brazilian already appears well on course to becoming the bargain of the last window. For Liverpool, in fact, he could end up the best value for money signing the club has made since bringing Luis Suarez in from Ajax for £22M.
After a series of transfer windows that have seen the club's big money signings—players like Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, and Joe Allen who all arrived for between £15-20M—deliver mixed returns at best while those meant to be bargains have mostly failed to deliver completely, it's almost been a shock to watch both Coutinho and fellow January signing Daniel Sturridge make instant impacts.
"He’s adapted and fit in very well," said Brendan Rodgers of his latest signing following Saturday's 4-0 win over Wigan in which Coutinho registered two assists. "He’s a very talented young player who is a wonderful technician. Tactically, he participates in the game well and understands this way of working and playing. He created two goals with two assists against Wigan and was very impressive.
"He’s still getting his fitness—he’s up to 65-70 minutes now but as each day goes by he’s getting stronger. So far, he’s shown to be a very good signing for us."
Of course, that he has now faced a Swansea side focused on the League Cup final and a Wigan that, having yet to kick off their annual revival, seem destined for demotion may have helped with Coutinho's quick transition and instant impact. Still, the signs are encouraging, even if supporters may have to temper expectations for the talented 20-year-old in the coming weeks.
Those expectations—and just how close he might be to being able to make an impact every week in the Premier League—will be put to a far tougher test when Liverpool face Tottenham on Sunday looking to win only their second game against top ten competition this season.
Read More: Video: Philippe Coutinho v. Wigan