Brendan Rodgers has rarely been shy in praising the development of young players under his tutelage, but this felt different. More genuine. Fanboyish, almost.
“He is a joy to work with and a joy to watch,” swooned the Liverpool manager after watching Philippe Coutinho dismantle Manchester City last weekend. “He is a kid who has so much ahead of him in the game. He is a sensational footballer.” Anyone who has watched the Reds over the last couple of years would be hard pressed to disagree.
Coutinho’s talent has largely gone untapped at international level, however. Indeed, it remains a damning indictment of the direction the Brazil team has taken that a player so gifted should only have five caps to his name. That could be about to change, however. Coutinho was brought back into the fold by Dunga in the wake of the 2014 World Cup debacle and has been an ever-present in the squad since.
Yet the midfielder may still have to bide his time before flourishing for his country. Find out why in my new blog for Yahoo! Eurosport.