Philippe Coutinho to be Liverpool's star man again, says Fabio Aurelio

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Fabio Aurelio believes Philippe Coutinho will head into the upcoming season full of confidence following his superb efforts for Liverpool during the 2014/15 campaign.

Coutinho signed for the Reds for £8million from Inter Milan in 2013 and instantly became a fan favourite for his skill on the ball and attacking mindset.

Key asset

He was a valuable member of Liverpool's squad in the 2013/14 campaign that almost won the title, and was dubbed "the brains of the team" by Brendan Rodgers last summer.

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The Merseyside outfit disappointed last season as they finished a lacklustre 6th in the Premier League, crashed out of the Champions League in the group stages and failed to add a piece of silverware to the Anfield trophy cabinet.

Ruby in the dust

However, Coutinho was a diamond in the rough during the term and put in a number of world-class performances. The Brazilian scored vital goals during wins against Manchester City at Anfield and away against Southampton, with the latter arguably goal of the season.

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The 23-year-old's efforts were rewarded at Liverpool's end of season award's where he scooped no less than four prizes including Players Player of the Year. He was also voted in the PFA Team of the Year.

Now, former Reds left-back Aurelio has revealed his belief that Coutinho will once again thrive and continue to improve.

"I have followed Coutinho since he first joined Inter Milan," Aurelio told

"Obviously he didn't have a great time there, but he was always a quality player, a quick player that could play very well between the lines. Quick-thinking as well.

"At Liverpool, he had the chance he needed to step up and improve his game; he had the opportunity to show his true qualities.

"I enjoyed watching him a lot last season and now he will have even more confidence to keep doing the great job he is doing at the moment. I wish him the very best."

Striker Support

Coutinho's ability to glide past defenders and pick out an inch-perfect pass was second to none at times last season and he menaced defenders constantly. Throughout the campaign, he intelligently linked-up with his team-mates and hit a number of through balls that should have been buried by the striker.

Mario Balotelli occupied the number nine role before the New Year but his efforts were well below par. The Italian's movement was virtually none existent and Coutinho could not make a positive relationship with Balotelli for that sole reason. When Coutinho had the ball at his feet, he looked for Balotelli on the move. The problem was that it was a rare sight to witness.

Hope yet

Raheem Sterling then took over upfront and he formed a better relationship with Coutinho. The pair combined to score an outstanding goal against Burnley on Boxing Day at Turfmoor. All in all however Sterling's finishing ultimately let him down throughout the season and did not properly complement Coutinho's hard work.

A goalscorer will be on the top of Rodgers' transfer list this summer. Christian Benteke has been targeted, but Liverpool are reluctant to pay the Belgian's £32.5m buy-out clause from Aston Villa.

Roberto Firmino has been signed for £29 million from German side Hoffenheim but he is not a natural goalscorer and looks a replacement for Sterling, who looks destined to go to Manchester City.

Liverpool fans, will Coutinho be a standout player once more next season? Let us know in the comments box below.

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Premier League
Fabio Aurelio
Philippe Coutinho

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