The Anfield boss says that the playmaker is “a great asset to the club” and is keen to secure his long-term future, while he hopes for more goals from the Brazilian this season
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has revealed that Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho will be offered a new contract before the start of the upcoming season.
The 22-year-old has shone at Anfield since joining the club in an £8 million move from Inter in January 2013, scoring and assisting 20 goals in 46 Premier League appearances.
Rodgers believes that Coutinho is a player around whom he can build his side, with his best years still ahead of him, and is keen to reward the former Vasco da Gama star with an extension.
“A new contract for Philippe is something we will look to do over the summer,” the Northern Irishman told reporters.
“It’s all in hand. He’s certainly on that list. He’s a valuable player and a great asset to the club. He’s come in here and shown his quality, and really developed as a young player.
“Now he’s moving into the best years of his life as a footballer. He’s 22 and hopefully, by the time the next World Cup comes around, he will be an important part of the Brazil team. I’m sure his best years will be at Liverpool.
“He came back to pre-season with a great level of fitness – right on the limit of his weight. He’s in great condition, clearly worked hard in the off-season and, since he’s come back, we’ve seen in the games how strong and aggressive he is.”
Coutinho bagged just five goals last term, fewer than defender Martin Skrtel, and the Liverpool boss expects the Brazilian to hit the back of the net more often next season – though he refused to set him a target.
“He’s a player I don’t want to put too much pressure on with goals,” Rodgers explained. “When you have that quality and technique you’ll hope to score more goals and I’m sure that’s something he will improve on this season.”