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Rodgers Has "High Hopes" for Coutinho

Liverpool's second signing of the January window could be set for an appearance on Monday, but regardless of whether or not he features, his new manager is expecting big things.

Dino Panato

"He's a young player I've got very high hopes for. He trained with the group this morning, and we'll observe him over the next couple of days and see where he's at for Monday.

"Competition for places is what we want. That was the whole idea of bringing him in. He's a top young player with big experience, and bringing him into the group adds that competition. There's no doubt that the team who have been involved in the last couple of games have been exceptional."

Brendan Rodgers' comments from his pre-West Brom were largely focused on the news that Jamie Carragher would be retiring at season's end, but time was reserved for both fitness updates--nothing revelatory that Noel didn't recap from Mike Marsh's press conference earlier in the week--as well as the brief snippet above regarding the potential for Philippe Coutinho to see time on Monday.

I don't know if I care too much whether or not he plays against West Brom; his Liverpool career's going to get going at some point, and while it'd be nice for that to start as soon as possible, there's certainly no rush if his on thin ice fitness-wise. The eleven that Rodgers has selected over the past few weeks has had slight variations with fairly consistent success in terms of performances, even if the results over the last two have been disappointing.

What's much more important is the second piece of the above quotes, in that Coutinho will ideally push and be pushed for a role in the starting eleven in the future, which doesn't necessarily have to start 48 hours from now. There's a handful of young names across the midfield and forward areas that'll likely be in the picture for weeks and months to come, many of whom will be challenged in one way or another by the young Brazilian's presence--Fabio Borini, Raheem Sterling, Suso, Jonjo Shelvey, and Jordan Henderson all have the potential to be impacted in some way by bringing Coutinho aboard, and if he does add the type of competition that Rodgers hopes for, it'll hopefully be of benefit not only for the player but for the squad as a whole.

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