Liverpool have ‘high hopes’ for goalscoring debutant Coutinho, says Rodgers

The Brazilian attacker made his full debut for the Merseyside outfit against Swansea at Anfield on Sunday afternoon and netted the second goal in a 5-0 victory

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says he has “high hopes” for January signing Philippe Coutinho after his goalscoring performance in Sunday’s win over Swansea.

The Brazilian netted in the first minute of the second half as the Merseysiders ran out 5-0 winners against the south Wales outfit at Anfield.

And Rodgers believes the 20-year-old attacker can get even better as he adapts to life in the Premier League.

“He’s a real talented player, Coutinho. He’s only 20 but he’s had good experience playing at a big level,” the 40-year-old told reporters.

“He’ll take a bit of time to adapt to the speed and the tempo, coming from Inter Milan his game is at a slower tempo. But he’s a wonderful technician and you can see with his involvement in the first goal the quality and the speed of his passing and he’s got wonderful game knowledge as well.

“I’ve got high hopes for him, these are the types of players we’re trying to get in, the technicians that have got strong character and mentality and I’m sure he’ll progress really well.”

The Northern Irishman also underlined the importance of the win following a week in which the Reds suffered consecutive 2-0 defeats at the hands of West Brom and Zenit St Petersburg.

“It was an important three points. It’s been a bumpy road this week in terms of the games Monday and Thursday,” he added.

“The Premier League is very important for us and we knew that we had to focus and show commitment today against a Swansea team that’s been brilliant this season.

“For us it was a very important win, an outstanding performance and I think we really showed our character and mental toughness today to get a performance like that.

“Funnily enough going into the game it was [all] about keeping a clean sheet, because the last four games defensively we haven’t been at our best. Overall, we’re very pleased and a very good performance.”

Rodgers stopped short of claiming a late push for fourth is possible, however, insisting his side must stop plotting their own downfall.

“Every time I say [fourth is possible] you guys always write and slaughter me. I’m a manager, I’m an optimist but we’re not getting carried away,” he said.

“We’ve put in some outstanding performances this season and never always got the results. I liken us to a marathon runner just getting ready for the finish line, we’re ready to make a move, make a run and then we trip up. But we trip ourselves up.

“That’s something we have to change for the remainder of the season and finish the season as strong as we possibly can.”

Swansea coach Michael Laudrup, meanwhile, claimed his squad cannot blame the number of changes he made for their defeat.

“How do I explain it? It’s a little difficult. Some could say ‘you made a lot of changes’, it’s true. The first to blame is me, maybe, because I pick the team,” he said.

“But you go back the last two or three months and see how many times we changed team from one game to another; two, three, four, five. I remember when we played Fulham between Christmas and New Year with seven changes.

“I know Fulham, with all due respect, is not Liverpool, but still, we won the game. The one thing you can always ask is that the team is competitive and today we came in after the first 45 minutes, we’d had a couple of chances and they’d had more but we were still in the game.

“Then they scored three goals in ten minutes, you cannot do that. We could have lost seven or eight nil easily if it wasn’t for Michel. That’s not good enough. But we have to learn from it, we have to go on and think about the final.”

The Dane also expressed hope that Sunday’s result would not affect his side’s confidence ahead of Sunday’s Capital One Cup final against Bradford at Wembley.

“You get confidence when you win, and you have good results and games, and the opposite when you lose, but that’s part of it,” he continued.

“Everybody wants to play, everybody’s asking for their chances but obviously it’s not so good when we get games like this. I pick out the obvious things [after the match] but my main thing to them today was everybody should look inside at what he could have done better today.

“I will not exclude [the idea of] some players thinking about the game next week. [It]’s human because it’s the biggest game maybe in the history of the club.

“But you see what happens if it’s like that. I want to see this as a single accident maybe caused by what is going to happen in seven days. Or at least I hope so.”

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