Philippe Coutinho: Praised by Liverpool team-mate Lucas Leiva Sky Bet Football Betting Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds Football Betting 10 Free Bet Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has praised team-mate Philippe Coutinho and warned rivals “he will only get better”.
The Brazilian arrived at Anfield in January after making the move from Inter Milan, scoring two goals in 10 appearances for the Reds and creating countless chances.
Speaking to the official matchday programme, Leiva said: “Philippe is a young player but he has got a lot of experience because he spent two years in Italy and six months in Spain so he knows how things work in Europe.
“Of course the Premier League is a different league but he has been fantastic for us since he came.
“For sure, he will only get better because he is very young and works very hard.
We are just delighted that he came here and is having the chance to show his quality.
That is maybe what he didn’t have in Italy with Inter.” Fellow Brazilian Leiva, who has been at Anfield since 2007, also believes the presence of a trio of South Americans has helped Coutinho settle in so quickly.
He added: “He has settled quickly and has myself, Sebastian Coates and Luis Suarez to help him feel comfortable and understand a bit more.
I’m sure the fans are really looking forward to seeing a full season from him next year just as I am.”
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is set to make his return from a long-term knee injury two months ahead of schedule, Reds manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed.
The Brazilian was ruled out last November when he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury, but Rodgers revealed he plans to give the 25-year-old some game time on the pre-season tour of North America.
Liverpool will play friendlies against Toronto, Roma and Tottenham as they prepare for the new season.
Rodgers told www.lfctour.com: “He’ll have some involvement.
He’s still got some way to go to get back to where he was before the injury but he’s back two months early.” He added: “This is normally a nine-month injury.
He’s been back in seven, and that’s great credit to his work and the work of the medics here.
“He’s done very, very well and is working very hard.
We can feed him into some of the games and increase his mental capacity to improve, because obviously it was a serious injury.
“He’s a great guy, he loves his football, loves this club, and he’s making great progress.” And Rodgers did not rule out Lucas featuring in the first game of the tour against MLS side Toronto on Saturday.
He said: “We shall see.
The maximum any player will play on Saturday is 45 minutes.”
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva admits overcoming a psychological hurdle is the next step in his bid to regain full fitness.
The Brazil international has done months of rehabilitation on the physical side after surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee in December.
But with the new season looming on the horizon, signalled by the return to training of all the players not involved in summer internationals on Wednesday, Lucas knows the next test will come when he returns to the pitch.
“The first four weeks I saw my knee it was very bad looking and it comes through your head that you might not be at the same level you were before,” he told Press Association Sport.
“But at the same time you see big players who had the same injury come back and be even better.” He added: “There is no need for me to be scared.
Rather than stay protecting myself I need to work on my head as well to come back and play the same way I was playing before.
“One of the things which made me strong in the team was how aggressive I was in tackles and things like that so I cannot lose that.” Lucas has split his rehabilitation between the club’s Melwood training ground and his former club Gremio in Brazil but now he is back on Merseyside full-time.
He admits he has been working so hard since coming off his crutches that he has actually spent more time in work than he would have done had he still been playing.
“I had less time to myself than before,” he added.
“When you are playing you have a few days off and we train only in the mornings but I have been at Melwood 9am to 4pm every day.
“The focus has been only the knee and I think that is the only way I will be back quicker and stronger because if I had too many days off I don’t think I will be feeling well.” Lucas would like to be fit for the start of the season but as that is in less than a month’s time, with a Europa League qualifier on August 2, he will not rush himself back.