Liverpool starlet Coutinho seeking Europa League qualification

The Brazilian playmaker, who joined the club from Inter in January, has vowed to help the Reds try to claim the final European spot and also praised team-mate Luis Suarez

Liverpool attacker Philippe Coutinho is eager to qualify for the Europa League and believes securing European football for next season is of the utmost importance.

The Anfield outfit have won the Europa League, in its former guise of the Uefa Cup, on three occasions – most recently under Gerard Houllier in 2001.

And the Reds’ 20-year-old signing from Inter is adamant that Liverpool – who have also won five European Cups – belong in European competition, and that the entire squad are determined to qualify.

“It’s very important for the club and for the players,” Coutinho told the Daily Mail.

“Liverpool must play for European trophies all the time. We will do our utmost in the last few games to get maximum points in order for us reach a place in the Europa League.”

The Rio de Janeiro-born playmaker also praised Uruguayan team-mate Luis Suarez, who tops the Premier League goalscoring charts, and has lauded their on-field bond.

“Suarez is a fantastic player and it’s an honour to play with him,” Coutinho continued. “Together I hope we achieve great things for Liverpool.

“He’s excellent, always on the move during the game, and helps you open the defence more easily.”

Rodgers targets summmer additions

The 40-year-old believes the Reds need to press ahead with recruiting players at the end of the season, citing the need to avoid the problems that hurt the side in the past

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has stated that the club need to focus on adding new players to the squad in the summer and learn from their past mistakes in the transfer market.

The 40-year-old spoke of “operational issues” after the club left themselves with just one fit senior striker by the close of the window in the summer in the form of Luis Suarez after loaning Andy Carroll to West Ham without having a guaranteed replacement lined up.

They moved to rectify that error and bolster their attacking line during January by bringing in Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea and Inter playmaker Philippe Coutinho, with Rodgers admitting that the scars of the Carroll debacle need to avoided at all costs in the future.

“We would have liked to bring in a few more players in the summer but we didn’t,” Rodgers told Yahoo.

“The group were admirable with what they coped in that period because we had a lot of games. We knew we had to bring in reinforcements in January and the board worked superbly to get those players.

“We are hopeful that come the summer we can make more additions that will take us on to the next level.

“So there was no vindication really, just that Andy [Carroll] wanted to play games every week and at the time there wasn’t the availability to bring in a replacement.

“The business we did in January however was excellent and that’s a great credit to the club.”

With the club still maintaining an outside chance of pushing for a top-four place this season, Rodgers believes the way Coutinho and Sturridge have settled has provided a boost to the entire squad.

He added: “He [Sturridge] has settled in very well, but he still has lots of aspects of his game to work on in order to achieve what he wants to and to allow him to make the kind of impact that we want.

“He has made a very promising start and as long as he maintains that same level of commitment and responsible attitude to improving, I can see him being a great signing for the club.

“[Coutinho] might be slight in stature but he’s still got real power and mental strength too, plus he’s a wonderful technician.”

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Henderson hails Coutinho after Liverpool victory over Aston Villa

The January signing provided a superb pass from which the midfielder was able to draw the Reds level before Steven Gerrard sealed the points from the penalty spot

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has heaped praise on January signing Philippe Coutinho after the Brazilian set up the Reds’ equaliser in Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Aston Villa.

Coutinho threaded a superb pass through to allow Henderson to cancel out Christian Benteke’s opener before Steven Gerrard converted a penalty to seal the points.

The €7.7 million January signing from Inter is only 20 but has quickly become a fixture in Brendan Rodgers’ starting line-up, and Henderson was full of praise for his “outstanding” young team-mate.

“It was a great start to the second half for us and it was a great ball from Philippe, and thankfully I managed to slot it in, so I’m over the moon,” Henderson told the club’s official website.

“It was all about the ball from Philippe which was outstanding and I thank him for that one.

“Philippe is brilliant and I think everyone can see that. He’s a real talent and he’s young as well. He has been outstanding since he came into the team and hopefully he can keep that going.”

Benteke put struggling Villa ahead in the first half but the Reds turned the game on its head after the break to earn the victory.

“We were really pleased with our second-half performance,” Henderson added. “I thought we came out and played some good stuff, defended very well, so overall we are delighted with the three points.

“The manager told us at half-time to up our game a little bit more. We were doing okay and probably were the better team in the first half, just, but in the second we took that on board, got forward more and got the two goals.

“[Luis] Suarez did brilliantly to win the penalty for us and we all know Stevie is brilliant at penalties.”

In addition to hitting the target himself, Gerrard preserved Liverpool’s lead by brilliantly heading a Benteke effort off the line.

“It was unbelievable,” Henderson said. “Stevie was outstanding again for us and he’s been doing that for many years now so it’s not a surprise to anyone.”

The former Sunderland midfielder was in Rodgers’ XI for the first time since the Europa League tie against Zenit St Petersburg last month and hoped he had taken his chance to impress.

“It’s nice to play football,” he admitted. “The team has been playing brilliantly of late.

“I haven’t played as much as I would have liked but I got the chance here and thankfully we won. Hopefully we can win more games now.”

Coutinho: I want to become a key player for Liverpool

The 20-year-old has revealed that he has settled well into life at the Merseyside club and has vowed to become an important player at Anfield over the coming years

Philippe Coutinho has reflected on his successful start to life at Anfield and has vowed to continue to improve and eventually become a key player for Liverpool.

The midfielder joined the Reds in January from Inter, scoring two goals and assisting a further two in his first five appearances for the club.

Despite his positive start, the Brazilian isn’t content with his early success and says he will continue to improve in the coming years.

“The manager here is still young but he’s an excellent person and a very good coach. He speaks openly to everyone and I’m pleased to be working with him,” he told the Liverpool Echo.

“The games are quicker and more physical but I like that. I am learning all the time.

“Every player wants to improve and get better and I am the same. I am still young and have so much still to learn.

“I hope to be here for many years and become a big player for Liverpool. I will continue to work hard and do my best to improve my performances and help Liverpool.”

Coutinho also added that he hopes his successful domestic performances could result in him being called up for the Brazil squad, where he already has one cap.

“It was an honour for me when I was called up the first time,” Coutinho revealed. “At the moment my aim is to play well for Liverpool and to learn and develop as much as I can.

“But I am sure if I play consistently well for Liverpool then the Brazil coach will notice me and I’ll be called up for the national team.

“The fact the next World Cup is in Brazil makes that extra special. I will try to play as well as I can in order to make the squad.

“It’s my dream to play for Brazil in the World Cup.”

Pochettino: Coutinho has that same quality as Ronaldinho and Messi, but much to prove

Ahead of Southampton’s clash with Liverpool on Saturday, the Saints boss has hailed the Brazilian midfielder’s ability and compared him to the South American stars

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino believes Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho has similar qualities to fellow South Americans Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi.

Coutinho moved to Anfield from Inter in January and has enjoyed a productive start to his Premier League career, scoring once and notching two assists in four games.

Pochettino, who worked with the 20-year-old during a loan spell at Espanyol last season, believes the midfielder has “a special magic in his feet”.

“Philippe is a Brazilian player and, as it happens with most Brazilians, he has a special magic in his feet,” Pochettino told reporters.

“Aside from the magic that he has, he also has an amazing work rate and that makes us doubt whether he fits the mould of a typical Brazilian player or a European one because his work ethic is outstanding.

“What is important about him is he is a good lad, a good kid – a great, humble person. I do think Coutinho has that same quality that Ronaldinho and Messi have, but he has much to prove yet.

“What is really clear to me is that Coutinho is a really responsible player – really dedicated and responsible to his own players.”

Southampton had at one point been heavily linked with the Brazilian midfielder but when asked whether the Saints could have signed Coutinho, Pochettino suggested that the failed move should be consigned to history.

He said: “What has happened in the past, happened in the past. We can’t change it or do anything about it. Actually, talking about it is not going to do anything positive either.”

Suarez is phenomenal, says Liverpool's Coutinho

The 20-year-old Brazilian has made a big impact since his January transfer from Inter, but says he is a big admirer of his Uruguayan team-mate, who “gives himself” to the squad

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho says that team-mate Luis Suarez is a “phenomenal” and “otherworldly” player.

The 20-year-old made his €10 million move to Anfield in January with the hope of providing some much-needed support to an often isolated Suarez, who is a player he admires for the way he “gives himself to the team”.

“Suarez is phenomenal – he is otherworldly,” he told the club’s official website.

“The goals he scores, the way he gives himself to the team… It is very important and I am very happy to be able to play next to him.

“I think it’s the way he gives himself to the team – he fights all the time and chases all the time. He doesn’t let one ball go – even if it’s the hardest one.

“He fights all the time to win and I admire that in a player. I think it is one of his strong points.

“I’m not only happy to play next to him, but also other players like Steven [Gerrard], who is phenomenal, too. These are guys from another world!”

Coutinho has impressed since arriving at Anfield, with a goal on his debut against Swansea and a good performance against Tottenham in their 3-2 win, but says he has found it difficult to adapt to the physicality and pace of the Premier League.

“It is very different here. In Brazil the game is very open, the defenders are not as tight with the attacker. I think this is the hardest thing here,” he added.

“Also, the game is very quick – but I feel I can improve these things during training and improve my intensity.

“I have been doing some body building, too, so I can get more used to the physicality.

“English football is very quick, it has great intensity, and I think this is the big difference [to other leagues].

“In Brazil, football is slower, the tactics are a bit more open and the pitch even seems to be bigger – even though it is obviously the same size – due to the game being so open.

“In Italy, it is a little bit different than it is in Brazil, but here in England it is very quick. I played in Italy and in Spain but the intensity of the game here is very strong. I just have to improve to be able to play at the highest level here.

“I will always give my best and then try to score and create good moves to help the team win.”

Gerrard & Enrique praise Coutinho impact at Liverpool

The Reds captain has been impressed with the Brazilian since his €10 million arrival at Anfield and believes he has injected a much-needed creative spark into Brendan Rodgers’ sid

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has hailed the impact of Philippe Coutinho on Merseyside and believes he has injected fresh impetus into the Reds.

The 20-year-old became the latest addition to Brendan Rodgers’ squad at Anfield after a €10 million switch from Italian giants Inter and has made a big impact since his arrival in January.

Coutinho is yet to complete a full 90 minutes on English soil, but he has already scored once and assisted two goals in just 202 minutes of football.

“He’s got moments of magical brilliance,” Gerrard told reporters.

“I think you’ll see the best of him next season when he gets a full pre-season under his belt and gets used to the speed of the game.

“What he has shown for 55 or 60 minutes is that he’s a top player and he belongs in a Liverpool shirt. If we can get that for 90 minutes from him next season then he’s going to be a great asset for us.”

Left-back Jose Enrique echoed the sentiments of his skipper and believes there is even more to come from the youngster when he is fully fit.

“The numbers speak for themselves. In four games he has two assists and one goal so I hope he will continue like this scoring goal and making assists,” Enrique added.

“He is the type of a player, as a big team, you have to have.

“He can create from nothing in a one versus one. He is playing really well right now and he is the type of player we need.

“Defenders are important but you need people who can score goals and we have now.”

Liverpool assistant Pascoe hails 'brilliant' Coutinho

Brendan Rodgers’ No.2 insists the Brazilian’s seamless start to life on Merseyside has not surprised the Reds’ coaching staff and is happy with how he has settled in

Liverpool assistant manager Colin Pascoe has hailed Philippe Coutinho and his impact on the Reds’ first team.

The Brazilian signed from Inter in January and has already managed a goal and two assists in his three appearances for the Merseyside outfit.

“Philippe has been brilliant,” Pascoe told the club’s official website.

“He is a quiet, young lad and it must be hard for him because he doesn’t speak much English – and I can’t help him as he doesn’t speak Welsh either! But with Luis [Suarez], Lucas, Sebastian [Coates] and Fabio [Borini] you have Spanish and Italian, and he can speak that.

“I’m not surprised by his impact so far as we knew how good a player he was. He’s got a good eye, he’s got a good awareness of where his team-mates are and that’s what he’s picked up very quickly.

“He got two assists at Wigan. The one he crossed for Stewart Downing’s goal with two wingers combining was fantastic, and his goal against Swansea was superb.

“He wants to get into the box and he wants to score goals. If the opportunity is there for a pass he will make the right decision whether to shoot or pass and that’s the sign of a good player.”

Pascoe is also happy that Brendan Rodgers’ style of football seems to be paying off, with Liverpool having scored 12 goals in their last three games.

He explained:  “It’s always hard when you implement a new style and it takes time to get used to it, but with the way the lads have been playing it has been fantastic.

“Daniel Sturridge and Coutinho came in January and they have gelled well with the rest of the lads.

“The lads have been fantastic and every day they are working hard on the style, the tactical and technical style of their game, and good positioning, pressing and passing the ball better.

“You look at the 5-0 win against Swansea, 4-0 versus Wigan – both high scoring games and we could have even scored more with the way we played. We also played Arsenal and Manchester City and dominated them and were unlucky not to beat them.”

Premier League Team of the Week: Hat-trick heroes Kagawa & Suarez star

Philippe Coutinho & Pepe Reina also feature after Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Wigan, while Tottenham centre-back Jan Vertonghen returns to the side after north London derby victory

Hat-trick heroes Shinji Kagawa and Luis Suarez both star in our TOTW, after they helped Manchester United and Liverpool ease to respective 4-0 wins over Norwich and Wigan.

Japan international Kagawa enjoyed a superb afternoon at Old Trafford, with his treble helping the Red Devils maintain their healthy cushion at the top of the Premier League table.

Suarez’s three-goal return increased his tally to 21 for the season, and he is joined in our XI by fellow Reds Pepe Reina and Philippe Coutinho, with the young Brazilian setting up his side’s first two goals of the evening at the DW Stadium.

Manchester City pair Carlos Tevez and Kolo Toure both make the cut following Monday’s 1-0 win over Aston Villa, while Everton forward Kevin Mirallas completes our forward line. Fellow Toffees Steven Pienaar, Marouane Fellaini and Seamus Coleman are all unfortunate to miss out after their 3-1 win over Reading.

Jan Vertonghen’s excellent performance in Tottenham’s 2-1 north London derby victory over Arsenal sees the Belgian return to our TOTW to make his seventh appearance this season, and he is joined by Newcastle centre-back Steven Taylor, who makes the cut despite the 1-0 loss away to Swansea.

Sunderland’s Stephane Sessegnon features after inspiring his side to a comeback 2-2 draw at home to Fulham, while Mohamed Diame rounds off this week’s XI following his display in West Ham’s 1-0 win at Stoke.

Goalkeeper’s Ben Foster and Brad Guzan both just fail to make the grade this week, while there is no place for Loic Remy despite his goal in QPR’s vital 2-1 win at Southampton.

Liverpool starlet Coutinho unruffled by physical Premier League

The young attacking midfielder explains his decision to join from Inter and insists that he will ‘get up, carry on playing and score a goal’ if subjected to heavy challenges

New Liverpool signing Philippe Coutinho insists that he is not worried by the physicality of the Premier League.

The attacking midfielder, a January acquisition from Inter, says that he is resilient enough to bounce back from tough tackles and succeed.


“I’m quite calm about getting kicked,” he told the Daily Mirror. “I’ll get up, carry on playing and score a goal.

“I always knew the type of football here would be much harder but, with the help of the manager, staff and players, I’ll try to adapt as quickly as possible.

“Of course, playing here will be a challenge. I know everyone says it is the toughest league in the world and I’ve already noticed you have to think quicker and move quicker because the pace is that much higher than Italy or Brazil.

“I know I need to improve my muscles because they are quite small at the moment.”

The Brazilian admits his frustration that he could not break through at the San Siro but enthuses that, with a little help from Lucas Leiva, joining the Reds was an easy choice.

“Sometimes I was disappointed because every player wants to play. I always did my best for Inter but it didn’t work out,” he continued. “I need to spend some time at a club and I need to enjoy my football to play my best.

“Lucas spoke to me. He explained the methods here. I knew Liverpool was a huge team so the decision was made quite quickly on this basis.

“Liverpool is known around the world for being a huge club for all the titles they have won; the one that comes to mind is in the Champions League final in 2005 when they turned the game around.

“Hopefully I will have a long and successful career at Liverpool. That is what I’m hoping for.”