Friday 15 December 2017

Brendan Rodgers full of praise for ace Coutinho

Brazil hero in line for player of the year says Pool boss

Philippe Coutinho has been outstanding in Liverpool's recent resurgence
Philippe Coutinho has been outstanding in Liverpool's recent resurgence

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes the form of Philippe Coutinho should put him in contention for player of the season prizes.

The Brazilian playmaker has been outstanding in the Reds' recent resurgence and headlined his performances with a series of superb goals.

His latest brilliant strike secured a 2-1 victory over champions Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday, coming soon after similar crucial goals against Bolton and Southampton.

The 22-year-old would also be eligible for young player awards and Rodgers thinks he deserves to come into consideration when the season's most influential performers are assessed.

Rodgers said: "He is certainly going to be up there, there is no doubt about that. He has played very well.

"I think that period the team suffered at the start of the season, with our lack of penetration at the top of the field - he is the player that thrives on that. He is normally the player that makes the last pass for those players running in to score the goals.

"We didn't quite have that in the opening months. He had to stay longer on the ball and wasn't as effective, but now the dynamics in the team are very good, with the pressing and the movement off the ball.


"That allows him and his technical quality to really shine and he is starting to add goals to his game, and scoring some fantastic goals. Very importantly, he is contributing to the team and there are still improvements to make from someone so young."

Team-mate Joe Allen was likewise impressed by Coutinho.

"He's so good. The Brazilian team is obviously full of talent but he has to be really pushing for that," said Wales midfielder Allen.

"With his performances recently he's taken things to the next level.

"I think some people forget how young he is at times. He's a young player getting better all the time.

"Working with him day in day out he shows his quality every time he trains and plays and he scored a superb winner to get us the three points."

"I think it's confidence. That's huge thing in football. The ability has always been there," explained Allen.

"He showed with the goals he's scored that he has that as part of his game. He was always on this path.

"Those of us who work with him on a daily basis always knew he was going to kick on and reach this kind of level."

Rodgers, speaking at a press conference ahead of tomorrow night's clash with Burnley, also revealed that youngster Jordon Ibe's knee injury was likely to keep him out until the end of March.

The 19-year-old winger, who has been a revelation since returning from an early-season loan at Derby, was injured in last Thursday's Europa League defeat at Besiktas and missed the visit of City.

Rodgers said: "Young Jordon Ibe will probably be out for a few weeks. He just twisted his knee laterally on the outside of his knee in Turkey, had to come off towards the end.

"He has had a scan on that. It's not too serious but he is probably just going to be out for a few weeks. We'll probably have him back towards the end of March."

Captain Steven Gerrard is making good progress in his recovery from the hamstring injury that has kept him out for the last five games.

Rodgers said of the 34-year-old: "He is coming along very well. He is building up strength in his hamstring. He been outside and is working very hard. Hopefully in the near future he will be back and available."

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