Barcelona's Luis Suarez proud of Philippe Coutinho's Liverpool maturity
Luis Suarez admires the responsibility a young Philippe Coutinho took on at Liverpool after Steven Gerrard left Anfield for the LA Galaxy.
Suarez, along with Lucas Leiva and Sebastian Coates, was part of the group Coutinho socialised with when he first moved to England from Italy in 2013, but Suarez then signed for Barcelona in 2014.
"When the opportunity came up for me to come to Barcelona, I told Gerrard to look after [Coutinho] when I left," Suarez told the Catalan club's magazine. "But then he moved to the Galaxy, so Philippe had to take responsibility himself and he put the team on his back.
"It didn't surprise me to see him explode as a player because I knew the quality he had, but I admire the responsibility he took on at such a young age."
Coutinho, now 25, scored his first goal for Barca earlier this month in the Copa del Rey semifinal win against Valencia at Mestalla.
Since he joined the club for €160 million in January, he has made seven appearances, although he is still finding his place in Ernesto Valverde's team.
"When he's on the pitch, he transforms," Suarez said. "It may not seem like it, but Philippe is very shy and quiet. He needs to be more confident.
"That said, I've noticed a change between the kid that arrived at Liverpool and the player he's become now. He's still shy, but you can see how much he's matured.
"I am convinced he's going to give us a lot at Barca, as a player and a person. He has a quality which sets him apart [from others]. You could see that on his debut."
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.