Philippe Coutinho has yet to return to his pre-injury best since returning to the side in early January, but there can be no doubt about his importance to the club. Yesterday’s contract extension will almost certainly have a more profound long-term impact than the defeat to Southampton in the League Cup semis.
To Jürgen Klopp, Coutinho’s importance and talent is obvious.
“The player, everybody in the world to have him in their team, that he wants to stay here is for us unbelievably important,” Klopp said after the match. “He's not the only player we want to keep but – you write more about it than we could say about it – but everybody wanted him and that was obviously true because no-one in football is that blind they can't see what his qualities are.
“We will carry on in this way with the players we want to keep and all that stuff. That will happen in the next few months and years because the base is really good here.
“Phil is the first to show he thinks the same.”
Hopefully more players—either at the club, or beyond—will see the rapid turn-around Klopp has so far managed on Merseyside, and want to be a part of the project as well.
Although time will certainly tell about Coutinho, he might be one of those rare players who is actually loyal to a club. It’s easy to forget that his career had gone stagnant at Inter Milan before becoming instrumental at Liverpool, starting almost immediately after the January transfer window of the 2012/13 season. Those early struggles at Inter might make him more hesitant than most to disturb a good run of form, especially now that he’s becoming a regular starter for the Brazil national team.
It’s incredible to think that he’s already been at the club for 4 years, and that he’s still only 24-years-old. Hopefully this deal will ensure we’ll see Coutinho doing magical unicorn stuff well into his prime.