As per usual Liverpool have been linked with every man and his canine companion during the January transfer window, but their best piece of business finally looks close to completion.
It’s not any of Gonzalo Higuain, Ezequiel Lavezzi or Jay Rodriguez who are about to sign at Anfield either, it is the Reds’ very own Philippe Coutinho.
According to widespread reports, the Brazilian trickster is prepared to sign a fresh and greatly improved four-and-a-half-year extension to his current deal, due to expire in 2018.
While the finer points are still being ironed out, this move to pin down his number 10 is as wise as it is unsurprising from Brendan Rodgers, given Coutinho’s contribution to the club since his switch from Inter Milan in January 2013.
Back then the mercurial midfielder was an underexposed, raw talent banished to the peripheries of the slumbering Serie A giant’s squad, who’d been sent out on loan to Espanyol the previous season.
However, ever since slipping on a red jersey the Brazilian number 10 has looked a world-class operator for Liverpool.
Combining silky dribbling ability with the vision of a classic playmaker, Coutinho has played across the midfield and wide forward positions, generally excelling wherever he’s deployed.
In a season where Liverpool have struggled, as their price of 11/2 just to make the top four in the Premier League implies, alongside Raheem Sterling, the diminutive forward has been their best performer.
According to the statisticians at WhoScored.Com, Coutinho successfully completes more dribbles than any other Liverpool player.
The one department in need of improvement is goals though, as 10 in 65 top-flight appearances is a little on the modest side for a player of his ability.
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