Coutinho up there with the very best – Rodgers

The Liverpool manager was full of praise for the Brazilian midfielder after his “outstanding” performance in the Reds’ 2-0 victory over Newcastle at Anfield

Brendan Rodgers believes that Coutinho is up there with the “very, very best” after his “sensational” display in Liverpool’s 2-0 victory over Newcastle United on Monday night.

Goals from Raheem Sterling and Joe Allen secured all three points for the Reds, who moved within four points of fourth-placed Manchester City in the race for Champions League qualification.

But it was the Brazilian who was singled out for praise by his manager after the game.

“I thought he was incredible tonight,” Rodgers told reporters. “I thought he showed that he’s really up there with the very, very best in the most competitive league in the world, which is the Barclays Premier League.

“I played him in that role just in front of the centre-halves, thinking that we could exploit the space in between their midfield and the centre-halves and create space for players to make runs in behind. I thought he was sensational.

“He’s a young player who came in, we only paid €12 million for him, and it was purely due to them, Inter Milan, needing funds. It was nothing to do with his ability. I’d seen him play as an 18-year-old in the Champions League with top-class players, so he was a kid that always had the ability.

“But he’s become stronger, become more tactically aware and I think you see him now really orchestrating the game for us. It was an outstanding performance tonight, he ooked very fit and strong, and he’s had a wonderful season.”

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