Liverpool may not have done a great deal to strengthen over the past month, but by signing Philippe Coutinho to a new deal today they have helped to ensure a strong squad moving forward. The creative midfielder may not have been a threat to depart this summer, but tying him down until 2020 makes him a player Brendan Rodgers knows he can continue to build his side around.
"I’m delighted that Philippe has committed his long-term future to us," Rodgers told the club’s official website following the announcement of Coutinho’s new five-year real. "He is going to be a big part of our story in the years to come. The most exciting thing isn’t just how good he is now, it’s the further improvement he can make in his game. In terms of potential, he can still become even better."
Already not far off world class when he’s on form, adding more consistent shooting would be the main thing for Coutinho to improve on if he’s to take his game to an even higher level. As it stands, though, he’s one of the Premier League’s best creators—it’s best, even, if you put much credence in the fact he’s led the league in chances created since signing for Liverpool two Januaries back.
He’s also a tireless worker who is willing to do the dirty work and put in a shift without the ball, something he doesn’t always get as much credit for as he should. Despite his diminutive side, like Chelsea’s Oscar he’s shown an ability to play as a true central midfielder when called upon to do so by his manager, and it’s that willingness to work hard that has Rodgers believing he’ll get even better.
"I love working with players like Philippe," added the manager. "He has an attitude to match his talent, but underlying all of that is a humble approach to his work and his life. It is my hope now that he continues with his improvement and development and becomes a figurehead for this exciting, vibrant, youthful squad of players as we look to grow as a group and achieve success together."