He may be showing strained signs of transfer window frustration, but Brendan Rodgers reckons he’s still done the best business in the market so far this year.
In Philippe Coutinho, the Liverpool manager bought a true diamond for a diamante price… and he believes the Brazilian can even inspire to a tilt at the top.
Rodgers has so far endured another difficult time in the summer market, as one after another of his top transfer targets has slipped through the club’s grasp, with the likes of Willian, Henrikh Mkhitaryan (), Diego Costa () and Erik Lamela (set for Spurs) pursuing greater riches elsewhere.
He has repeatedly suggested a top four finish will be ‘a big, big ask’; and after losing out on Brazilian Willian – now bound for Chelsea or Tottenham – this week he glumly stated: "We have to ensure we get quality through the door (to) give us a chance for fourth."
Yet even if he endures another fruitless few days before the window slams shut, at least he has the comfort of watching another brilliant Brazilian; one who was, remarkably, plucked from Inter Milan for what already looks like a bargain price of ‘just’ £8.5million.
Coutinho may be only just 21, but his manager has no doubts he will be able to shoulder the burden of extra expectation should Liverpool fail to land the marquee signing Rodgers so desperately craves.
"He’s a wonderful player, a joy to watch. He’s just turned 21 and he has a great career ahead of him," the Reds boss insisted ahead of .
"I have no doubts about him stepping up onto the big stage. I’ve seen him play in Champions League games for Inter. He has the temperament and quality.
"He was was only 18, 19, when he started at Inter and notoriously in Italy, a lot of young players don’t get the opportunity. Hence, he went to Espanyol on loan.
"When I was aware he was available, having known of him when he was in Brazil, I thought it would be perfect for us and he has just got physically better."
this week, but the player’s dubious antics in constantly playing interested parties off against each other eventually persuaded the Reds’ owners to refuse to remain involved.
That now seems like a wise decision, given the Brazilian’s apparent last minute to switch to Chelsea – which came after undergoing a Spurs medical.
It does, however, leave Rodgers still searching for the goal-scoring midfielder he has pursued all summer though.
But the manager believes Coutinho can provide the perfect solution to that problem.
"His ideal position is the number 10 role. I’ve seen him play when Inter had two advanced players and one holding, and he was one of the advanced players," he added.
"Whether it’s a two or a one, he can play in that role, or from the side, but centrally is where I see him. He’s just a really honest, good young player."
Rodgers is likely to stick with for the tea-time trip to Villa.