Sunday 23 November 2014

‘Tom Ince move looks unlikely,’ says Rodgers as Liverpool prepare to unveil Brazil playmaker Philippe Coutinho

Wayne Gardiner

Published 31/01/2013 | 10:17

Manager Brendan Rodgers signed one player and gave up on another last night, all while being impressed with the ones he already has at Liverpool.

The Reds confirmed the capture of Inter Milan midfielder Philippe Coutinho on a long-term contract just before their 2-2 draw at Arsenal, after which Rodgers conceded a move for Blackpool winger Tom Ince is unlikely to happen before tonight's deadline.

The Northern Irishman has long been an admirer of the 20-year-old who Liverpool actually released to join Blackpool and has acknowledged what he would add to his squad.

That is not to say he is unhappy with what he already has at his disposal, though, with a number of players catching the eye at the Emirates last night.

Luis Suarez was his usual industrial self, scoring yet another goal in a typically all-action display, while at the other end of the spectrum, veteran Jamie Carragher produced a performance akin to the majority of his 700 for the club.

It was midfielder Jordan Henderson who really shone, however, scoring the second after teeing up the first, offering further signs that he is starting to justify the £20million price tag that has been a millstone around his neck since he joined from Sunderland.

"Jordan is improving all the time and has a great appetite for the game," Rodgers said.

"I was talking to him afterwards... It's just that final ball, the final pass. Technically he is getting better all the time and he's got great athleticism. I believe he will be a great signing for Liverpool, it just takes time.

"Players used to come to Liverpool and go into the reserves for two years. These kids are having to go straight into the team."

Like Henderson, Ince is an England Under-21 international and, along with Wilfried Zaha, has been the standout player in the npower Championship this campaign.

Reading have also registered their interest in Paul Ince's son, but with Blackpool determined to keep hold of their prized asset, a move does not look like it is on the cards at the moment.

"We could still do the deal it but it looks like that one is a bit too complicated at this stage," said Rodgers.

"It's about affordability as well. If Tom stays at Blackpool it doesn't mean he won't join Liverpool at a later stage. Maybe in this window it might be a difficult one for us."

They can boast the signature of Coutinho, though, a player of some repute and one who Inter Milan did not want to sell.

He was linked with a number of clubs, including Southampton, whose manager, Mauricio Pochettino coached Coutinho at Espanyol, but Rodgers believes Liverpool's standing in the game won the day.

"There was a big interest from there (Southampton), but a club like Liverpool will always attract top players," he said.

"Even though we are not where we want to be, the history of this club will always get top players interested and once he found out Liverpool were interested he wanted to come. It was a real coup for us because Inter Milan didn't want to sell him."

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