After arriving from Inter Milan for a paltry £8.5M towards the end of January, Philippe Coutinho immediately set a high bar for fan expectation with a series of strong performances. A five-match run against Swansea, Wigan, Tottenham, Southampton, and Aston Villa saw him score two goals and three assists in his first five starts in England and highlighted an exciting attacking talent willing to put a shift in at both ends of the pitch.
Slightly less stellar showings against West Ham, Reading, and Chelsea managed to cool the skyrocketing hype a little, but coming off perhaps his best performance of the season—for either Liverpool or Inter—that saw him central to almost everything good Liverpool did in the final third on the way to a 6-0 victory over Newcastle, the superlatives used to describe the 20-year-old Brazilian seem set to hit a few new highs.
Brendan Rodgers, though, is more concerned with keeping the hype in check than with adding to it. The young attacker may have impressed greatly since arriving at the club, but the Liverpool manager is keen to point out that it's still early days for Coutinho in England and that it would be best for all involved to not get too carried away.
"We build up players in the country and put them on a pedestal and then quickly nail them down," said Rodgers when pressed to talk about Coutinho's performance over the weekend. "He's had an outstanding performance and people can see why we brought him in. He's 20 years of age and fits the culture of what we're trying to do here.
"He's technically strong and he's a very humble boy. He works hard, you can see the effort in his game, the pressure, the intensity, so he fits in really well, but there's a long way to go."
With Luis Suarez set to miss the first six games of next season in addition to the remainder of this year, whether Coutinho can continue to perform as he mostly has since arriving in England—or if he can perhaps even improve further in the coming months—will play a massive part in the club's chances of returning to the top four and Champions League action next season.
Read More: Video: Philippe Coutinho v. Newcastle