Philippe Coutinho can be world-class like Luis Suarez, says Brendan Rodgers
BOLTON, England -- Brendan Rodgers believes Philippe Coutinho is set to emulate Luis Suarez by becoming Liverpool's next world-class player.
And Rodgers feels the midfielder, who has been in wonderful form over the last couple of months, is developing in the way Suarez did in his time at Liverpool.
Suarez, who joined from Ajax for 22.8 million pounds in 2011, moved on to Barcelona last summer for 75 million pounds and while Rodgers concedes Coutinho will never score as many goals, he sees similarities between the two South Americans.
He said in a news conference: "You would just pay money to watch that kid. He is a great role model for lots of technical players in this country, young British players that for maybe many years would have been discarded because they were technically good but not as big a stature.
"He will become world class in the next couple of years. Luis Suarez was at a level then he played in this team and grew and grew with the model and went into the world-class bracket and I can see Coutinho falling in the same sort of way.
"He might not be as prolific as Suarez was but he is certainly on the way to that. He is a wonderful, wonderful player. Signing a new deal shows he is really committed to Liverpool and his development."
Rodgers praised his side for their show of spirit after they went a goal down to Eidur Gudjohnsen's penalty.
Raheem Sterling and Coutinho then scored late goals and the manager said: "You can't question the character. They have shown a real strong mentality in my time here. The players were magnificent. Give them huge credit. The quality of goals was outstanding. We scored two and could have had many more."
Rodgers hailed Emre Can, who set up Sterling's equaliser, adding: "You see his stature, he can defend, he can pass, he is quick, he is powerful. You see his pass for the goal as well. There are a lot of young players standing up and being counted -- Emre [Can] and young Phil Coutinho and Raheem. They are playing exceptionally well at the moment."
While Rodgers disputed the award of the penalty referee Roger East gave for Martin Skrtel's challenge on Zach Clough, Bolton manager Neil Lennon was annoyed Neil Danns was dismissed.
The midfielder received two cautions for challenges on Joe Allen and departed when his side were leading 1-0.
And Lennon criticised East, saying: "I thought he was rubbish. I thought he spoiled a very good game. The first booking Dannsy gets isn't a booking. He doesn't make contact."
The former Celtic manager argued a miss by his goalscorer was the turning point, saying: "Eidur had a great chance to make it two and that would have bene game over."