Brazilian sensation Philippe Coutinho is one of the most important players at Liverpool right now. The attacking midfielder has credited Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino for helping him build his confidence
The 24-year-old has notched up five goals and five assists for Liverpool this season. He has adapted very well to the counter-pressing style implemented by Jurgen Klopp. However, Coutinho has played in a similar style before.
Just before moving to Liverpool in January 2012, the Brazilian played under Mauricio Pochettino when he was manager of La Liga side Espanyol, on loan from Inter Milan. Coutinho credits the current Tottenham manager for helping him build his confidence and initiate him in the ways of gegenpressing.
“I was really shy when I was back in Brazil so coming to Europe was very tough,” he explains in an interview with Sky Sports.
“My confidence has been really building since my time at Espanyol.
“The two coaches [Klopp and Pochettino] are actually very similar on the pressing side of the game. They spend a lot of time on that side of it and it’s a lot of hard work.”
Coutinho was overshadowed by the likes of Luis Suarez and a surprisingly fit Daniel Sturridge in his first two seasons at Anfield, but he has taken center stage the past two seasons. The Brazilian was voted club Player of the Year by both the fans and the players in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
He has made 10 assists and scored 13 goals in the Premier League in the past two seasons, the most by any Liverpool player in that period. The Brazilian’s performances have seen Liverpool offer him a new contract, in the face of interest from the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and PSG.
Liverpool paid a bargain price of just £8.5 million to Inter for the Brazilian, and they are now reaping the benefits. His former manager Mauricio Pochettino had also been interested in signing him after he took over at Southampton, but Coutinho preferred a move to Anfield.
The Argentine manger is now leading Tottenham Hotspur to great heights, with a focus on developing young players. But his biggest gift to the Premier League could be the player he never coached in the league at all.