Catching the eye

Philippe Coutinho, who bares a striking resemblance to former Argentina midfielder Pablo Aimar, is certainly one to watch next season as Rodgers’ new-look side continues to take shape.

With Liverpool missing Luis Suarez as he begins a lengthy ban, it was another South American who stole the show as they thrashed Newcastle.

Controversial Uruguay striker Suarez was given a 10-match suspension for biting Branislav Ivanovic, leaving the Reds without their leading scorer.

But Brendan Rodgers’ side responded in the best possible fashion as they tore the Magpies apart in a 6-0 English Premier League rout at St James’ Park. Daniel Sturridge scored twice for the Merseyside outfit, but it was fellow January recruit Philippe Coutinho who was particularly impressive.

The diminutive Brazilian midfielder created two goals and gave Alan Pardew’s side a torrid time with his silky skills, passing and movement.

Coutinho, 20, arrived at Anfield from Inter Milan with a big reputation and he looks a snip at GBP8.5 million, with Rodgers backing the playmaker to play an integral role for the club for years to come.

The Reds boss said: “I think he’s a top player already, considering he’s 20 years of age. He might be small in stature but you can see his strength. Technically, if you look at him, he’s got all the passes in the bag. He makes some wonderful passes and the weight of his passing is incredible.

“Look at his strength for the third goal (against Newcastle), where he out-muscles Hatem Ben Arfa on the line and then dinks the ball between two defenders. After that, Sturridge’s finishing was awesome.”

The manager further added: “Coutinho’s a wonderful player, who fits well with what we’re trying to do and the great thing is that he’ll only get better."

Fabio Borini was on target for the Reds on Tyneside and the Italian was also quick to heap praise on his team-mate. “Coutinho is such a great player,” former Chelsea striker Borini said. “He’s very clever and you can see he has played in Italy. He may be young but tactically he knows the game very well. You can see his intelligence when he’s on the ball and he’s exactly what we need.”

While Suarez will be sorely missed by the Reds, the manner in which they brushed aside Newcastle showed they are certainly not a one-man team.

And Coutinho, who bares a striking resemblance to former Argentina midfielder Pablo Aimar, is certainly one to watch next season as Rodgers’ new-look side continues to take shape.

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