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Steven Gerrard praises Liverpool teammate Philippe Coutinho

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Steven Gerrard has hailed Philippe Coutinho and called him "the next big thing".

Coutinho scooped four awards at Liverpool's end of season awards at the Liverpool Echo Arena on Tuesday evening which included Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year as well as making the PFA Team of the Year.

The former Inter Milan man has been highly praised by the media and football fans alike across the course of the season and has become a valuable member of the Brazilian national side and will represent his country in this summer's Copa America.

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After a 17-year stint with the Reds, Gerrard will leave the Merseyside outfit at the end of the season to join MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy, and he scooped the Outstanding Achievement Award at the club's ceremony.

However, instead of reflecting on his epic Anfield career, Gerrard paid homage to Coutinho and also urged his team-mates to keep giving 100% for the club.

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High praise

"I'm bored of speaking about myself, so I want to pay tribute to Philippe tonight," the 34-year-old said, as relayed by Liverpool's official club website.

"I think this is his night. He's cleaned up tonight on all of the awards and deservedly so, it's an absolute privilege to share a dressing room with him.

"He's the next big thing, for me, I hope he stays here for a long time and he can help win us some more trophies.

"From all the Liverpool players that are here and the ones that will be here in the future, you just want them to carry on all the club values.

"That's to work as hard as you can for the badge and every time you put the shirt on give everything you've got."

Coutinho Form

At the awards evening, Coutinho also scooped Goal of the Season for his 30-yard screamer away at Southampton and Performance of the Year for his effort during Liverpool's 2-1 win against Manchester City at Anfield.

With the sale of Luis Suarez last summer and Daniel Sturridge's season being riddled with injury, it has been Coutinho who has stepped up to the plate. He has been superb in the Reds' attack, creating plenty throughout the campaign and menacing defenders on a weekly basis, scoring eight goals on the way. 

Striker Needed

For all of the the 22-year-old's efforts, however, he has managed just five Premier League assists all season. That's no reflection on his performances, far from it, in fact. The Brazilian has created plenty of chances, but the Reds have missed a natural goalscorer.

Mario Balotelli's time on Merseyside has been an overwhelming failure having managed just four goals all season. Raheem Sterling has occupied the number nine role for most of the season and although his movement has been decent and he has latched onto Coutinho's inch-perfect through balls, the England international's finishing has not been good enough and he hasn't converted enough chances.

Brendan Rodgers will be desperate to bring a top-class striker to Anfield this summer who can guarantee 20 goals a season. If Sturridge is kept fit, he could do so, however, the former Chelsea man's injury history speaks for itself.

Whatever goalscorer moves to Liverpool this summer, they will be blessed to play alongside Coutinho and have an easy job scoring goals.

Liverpool fans: Who do you think Brendan Rodgers should sign this summer? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Steven Gerrard
Liverpool
Philippe Coutinho

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