Former Liverpool left-back Fabio Aurelio cannot believe how quickly Philippe Coutinho has adapted to the rigours of the Premier League.
Aurelio, 37, was the first Brazilian to sign for Liverpool after arriving from Valencia on a free transfer in 2006. He had six seasons at Anfield but only made 87 appearances due to injury, but he was highly-regarded by the fans and he still keeps an eye on proceedings at the club.
Aurelio, who retired in 2014, has hailed his fellow countrymen Coutinho and forward Roberto Firmino.
“Coutinho was already doing brilliant things but this season he has just confirmed his quality. Difficult things look very simple for him,” Aurelio told the club’s official website.
“After watching him last season, it’s difficult to see what else he can improve on – he scored goals from free-kicks, he scored goals from close to the goal, from outside the box.
“We see him improving every season. I’m keen to see what else he’s capable of doing. Obviously you cannot predict what he’s going to do, he surprises you every time. It’s amazing to watch him play.
“I thought he would do very well in Liverpool but I didn’t expect it to be so quick and so easy to adapt to the English league, which is very physical.
“The confidence he has gained in the past few years is helping him a lot and he is improving.”
Coutinho also praised the ability of Firmino and says he did “amazing things with the ball” last term.
“Firmino showed what he could do last season, in an important role in the team,” said Aurelio.
“He can do amazing things with the ball; some of the dribbles he did last season, nobody would have expected to be done, and some goals.
“He is not only a scorer but he also creates chances for his team-mates. Coutinho and Firmino know each other well. From what I could watch last season, they understand very well what the coach asks of them.
“You see the team and it’s not only two or three players, the whole team has a very good mentality, they were strong physically, they were very strong in moments when they didn’t have key players.
“That’s important in competitions like the Premier League, where you have to be very consistent across the whole season.
“If Liverpool can keep those important players and add a few more, they will have a great chance.”