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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers praises Philippe Coutinho after Barcelona move

Rodgers made one of the best decisions of his managerial life back five years ago when he signed Coutinho as Liverpool boss.
Coutinho cost just £8.5m from Inter Milan, but Rodgers admits it was still a risk because the Brazilian's confidence was shot to pieces.
The midfielder had been struggling to get a game with the Italian giants, but all that changed once he swapped Milan for Merseyside.
Coutinho flourished under Rodgers to earn the nickname 'The Little Magician' from both team-mates and fans.
Brazilian legend Pele tipped him to have a great future, but Rodgers admits it was still a bit of a gamble - even if it went on to pay handsome dividends.
Speaking from Celtic's warm-weather training camp in Dubai, Rodgers said: "I think people questioned, when I brought him in, whether he was big enough and tall enough.
"Was he maybe not as physical as the Premier League could be? But I'd seen him as a young player, saw him at Inter Milan at 18 around top players and I always felt he had the technical quality.
"And of course he was always going to get better physically.
"At the time, before he came over, he was low in confidence when he came to Liverpool.
"I believed in his ability. It was clear what he was. If you see him play now, he played like that when he was an 11 year old child, if you see videos of him playing Futsal.
"He was exactly the same. But he needed that belief. He came in and developed and improved and he was outstanding for me. A real humble boy."
Coutinho has not forgotten the role Rodgers played in helping him secure his dream move to the Nou Camp.
The Celtic boss was one of the first people he contacted from Barcelona once his record move was completed and Rodgers said: "He sent me a nice text the other day when he was arriving in Barcelona.
"He is a great young guy, he was never a moment's problem for me.
"He was a magical player to work with and we've kept in touch ever since.
"That is the pride that is always in it for me. I've said before that for me it's not about what's on my CV.
"I see the joy in seeing the likes of him get his move and Raheem Sterling improve from being an 18 year old kid and leaving for £49m.
"And other players that I've worked with. You feel you have played a little part in helping them achieve what is a dream for them."
Rodgers is convinced Coutinho is the perfect fit for Barca and will be a huge success with the Spanish giants despite the British record £142m price tag.
He added: "He is a Barcelona player if ever there was one.
"He has been a great player for Liverpool in his time there and he is in the middle of his asset age.
"He's 25 years of age, so he's going to light it up there for the next eight, nine, 10 years.
"A brilliant, brilliant player and a really, really humble boy who works really hard and never forgets his roots.
"He will go and join Luis (Suarez) now. They both got on very well. It's maybe the type of player they were looking for."