Brendan Rodgers expects Philippe Coutinho to get even better

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Brendan Rodgers has backed Philippe Coutinho to get even better after the Brazilian signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool today.

Coutinho joined the Reds from Inter Milan in January 2013 for £8.5 million and has become a fan favourite on Merseyside.

The 23-year-old has proved his class at Anfield over the past few years and was a pinnacle member of the Liverpool side finished second in the Premier League last season, scoring five goals in 33 appearances.

Coutinho has continued to flourish during this campaign and most recently put in a man of the match display during Liverpool's 2-0 victory over West Ham United on Saturday, with the playmaker provided assists for both Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge.

The Brazilian's fine form has been rewarded with a lucrative new contract which he signed at Melwood on Tuesday that keeps him on Merseyside until at least 2020 and Rodgers believes his protege will only continue to improve.

"I'm delighted that Philippe has committed his long-term future to us; he is clearly going to be a big part of our story in the years to come," the Liverpool boss told the clubs official website told the club's official website.

"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.

"He deserves all the credit in the world for the attitude he has shown since coming to Liverpool. He arrived as a young man, in a country he'd never lived in before and joined a club where expectations are high. He has shown a willingness to listen, learn and improve.

"He has shown resilience in adapting to the environment and has embraced everything we have asked of him.

"I love working with players like Philippe; 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."

Excellent News

Extending Coutinho's deal an Anfield is a fantastic move from Rodgers.

The Rio De Janeiro native has excelled beyond expectations during his time on Merseyside and became a favourite on the Kop.

Coutinho's ability on the ball is a joy to watch when he is on top-form and is a nightmare for any defender on the planet. His feet are two of the quickest in world football and he can dazzle past the opposition without breaking a sweat.

His effort on Saturday against West Ham was one of the best performances Liverpool fans have ever seen from the attacking-midfielder. Coutinho found space in so often in a compacted Hammers' midfield and his passes to find Sterling and Sturridge were at the highest level.

Previous to the weekend's game, Coutinho had once again been a magician over two legs in Liverpool's semi-final defeat in the League Cup against Chelsea as he glided past the Blues' centre-midfield pair of Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic with so much ease over the course of 210 minutes.

Bad Times Behind

At the start of the season, Coutinho was not at the top of his game. This was due to the lack of movement from Mario Balotelli ahead of him as the Italian failed to create gaps so the former Espanyol man could either penetrate or play through balls.

Rodgers recognised this and dropped his £16 million signing from AC Milan for his poor performances and opted to play Sterling as a lone striker.

This move brought the best out of Coutinho who finally had movement ahead of him and once again flourished. Sterling's pace dragged defenders away, creating space ahead as well as, allowing space to be created.

The pair have combined several times since the England internation lead the Liverpool front-line, the highlight being on Boxing Day when Coutinho's perfectly weighted pass found Sterling who slotted his effort home to give Liverpool the three points.

More To Come

Now that Sturridge has returned, we could see Coutino improve even more.

The pair combined so often last season and with Sterling as well as the likes of Adam Lallana, Alberto Moreno and Lazar Markovic beginning to find their feet the Liverpool of last season who scored 101 Premier League goals could return.

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