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Rodgers: "I've Been Tracking Him Since He Was Fifteen"

Philippe Coutinho may be the first major signing of the Rodgers era with no connection to the coaches or backroom staff, but having kept an eye on him for five years the manager believes he knows the player better than most.

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Chris Brunskill

With Philippe Coutinho following in Daniel Sturridge's footsteps by scoring on his full debut for Liverpool, January's transfer dealings are showing early signs of success. After the summer yielded a distinctly mixed bag, and with Liverpool's recent endeavours in the market often more bad than good, the instant impact made by Sturridge and Coutinho has been a very pleasant surprise.

"Coutinho is a really talented player," said Brendan Rodgers of his newest signing following Sunday's routing of Swansea. "He's only 20 but he's had good experience of playing at the highest level. He'll take a wee bit of time to adapt to the whole tempo of the English game, but he's a wonderful technician.

"You saw the quality and the speed of his passing all game—he's got wonderful game-knowledge. I've got high hopes for him. He's the type of player that we are trying to bring in here—a technician who has a strong character and good mentality. I'm sure he'll progress very well."

Many of Liverpool's new signings under Rodgers have connections to the manager, with Joe Allen and Fabio Borini having played under him at Swansea and in the Chelsea reserves respectively. Meanwhile, Daniel Sturridge's time at the Manchester City academy was while Liverpool's new scouting staff headed up recruitment for the Citizens.

It all adds up to Coutinho being the first major signing of the Rodgers era with no links to Liverpool's coaching or backroom staff. Rodgers, though, has been watching the 20-year-old attacking midfielder for the past five years—at one point even hoping to bring him to Swansea—and believes he knows exactly what the youngster can do.

"I saw him when he was 15 for Brazil and tracked his career since that," added the manager. "He went to Inter Milan and they bought him when he was 16, but went there at 18 and did very well getting into their team. He was a player I really liked and we're very fortunate to get him.

"He's only 20, but he's got wonderful technique and great power for a young player. I think people were surprised because of how slight he is, but his technique is terrific and the power of the shot saw it end up go in. He's a very, very gifted player."

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More: Video: Philippe Coutinho v. Swansea

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