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Coutinho's goal is to be 'great'


Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

LIVERPOOL playmaker Philippe Coutinho knows he must add goals to his creativity if he wants to become a great player.

It is almost a year since the Brazilian joined from Inter Milan and in the intervening time has produced performances which make his £8.5million fee look something of a bargain.

However, despite the rave reviews the 21-year-old has received he admits there is plenty of room for improvement – particularly in front of goal where he has scored just five times in 30 appearances.

"My goalscoring, for sure," he said of the main area he needs to target. "Sometimes my positioning is not the best and I need to improve that to score more goals. I want to continue improving and look forward to working harder – and harder on what I need to do to be considered a great player."


Reflecting on the last 12 months, he added: "It's a year that has gone very quickly and I am living in a very happy moment. I think I have improved with my positioning on the pitch because sometimes I play on the wings and other times in the middle.

"I have improved my knowledge a lot more and have worked harder on my finishing."

Coutinho settled quickly into life as a footballer in the Premier League and is a key part of manager Brendan Rodgers' blueprint for the future.

Expectations are higher on both him and the club this season, with their current fourth place the minimum ambition after a good first half to their campaign.

"We are quite confident. Our thought is to win every match and start every match doing our best in this battle, and we have to carry on this way," said Coutinho. "Our aim is to be within the first four places at the end of the season and we will try our best to keep ourselves up there.

"Here it is really different from other leagues, it is very competitive and sometimes you are leading but if you relax too much another team will overtake you quite quickly and you fall behind again. It is like a battle all the time."

While Coutinho's passage into the first team was virtually seamless last season – summer signings Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto have found opportunities limited.

Even with Luis Suarez's suspension and subsequent injury to Daniel Sturridge, Aspas has struggled to find his feet and there was talk of the former Celta Vigo forward going back to Spain on loan. But because Rodgers' squad is relatively small there is little chance of that happening in this window and his agent claims the manager retains his faith in the player.

"It is true that Aspas is not playing as much as we want but this is his first year at Liverpool," Jose Rodriguez Baster said. "I would lie to you if I tell you that Aspas is happy about not playing but he wants to stay.


"Always there are teams monitoring players but formal offers are a different thing. To close a deal it is necessary that all the parties agree terms and here I am not thinking of a transfer because the player's intention is not to leave Liverpool.

"If Liverpool (were to) sign a striker or a midfielder during this transfer window and they told us a different thing we will consider other alternatives but today the intention is that Aspas stays at Liverpool.

"Liverpool paid €9million for Aspas last summer and they believe that this is a long-term bet."