• Premier League

Lucas backing Coutinho after character reference

ESPN staff
February 1, 2013
Philippe Coutinho will be hoping to repeat his Espanyol form, rather than his Inter Milan form, at Liverpool © AP

Lucas Leiva believes Philippe Coutinho can make a major impact at Liverpool.

Coutinho, capped once by Brazil, arrived at Anfield in an £8.5 million deal from Inter Milan this week as the Reds look to climb up the table.

Brendan Rodgers has described Coutinho as a "wonderful talent" and someone who "can make the difference at the top end", and Lucas - who revealed he advised the Reds boss on the transfer - is confident his compatriot will show his worth.

"The manager spoke with me, not asking me about his talent, because he was sure about his talent, it was just about how he was as a person," Lucas said. "I spoke to him [Coutinho] a few times - not trying to convince him to sign, just telling him about the club, how things work here.

"He just felt it was a great opportunity for him to come to the Premier League and we are happy to have him here. Coutinho is a very talented player, with a lot of experience for someone so young. He is a proper Brazilian with a lot of skill. He likes to play with the ball. "He had a very good spell with Espanyol and I think he will be a great player in the future for us."

Although the loan period with Espanyol last year showed Coutinho has the potential to make a major impact at the top level in Europe, the 20-year-old had struggled to make an impact after he returned to Inter in the summer.

Nonetheless, Lucas is hopeful Coutinho will be able to adapt to the Premier League with the assistance of the South American contingent at Anfield.

"In Italy, it is a different game, but he has experience in La Liga as well," he said. "But I think he will be able to cope - I just hope he settles very quickly. We have Luis [Suarez] and [Sebastian] Coates, and myself, so we will all try to make him feel really comfortable and help.

"He is a young lad so we just need to make sure he settles very quickly, like Luis and Coates have, then he will be able to feel comfortable, show his qualities and start to play really well."

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