Steven Gerrard says he will not have the final say on whether Aston Villa make the loan deal of Phillipe Coutinho permanent in the summer.
Gerrard has been thrilled with the impact of his old Liverpool team-mate at Villa Park. The 29-year-old returned to the Premier League in January, four years after his departure from Liverpool to Barcelona.
The Brazilian signed for Barca with a huge price tag, but the £142m man failed to have the impact he would have liked in LaLiga. And when Gerrard got the chance to land the midfielder in January he quickly made a strong case to the Villa hierarchy.
An option to buy was included in the season-long agreement, with the BBC’s Phil McNulty saying that option is set at £33m.
And Gerrard has indicated he would like to make that permanent transfer happen at the end of the season.
“Phil was successful at Barcelona but he had difficult periods as well,” Gerrard said, via the Daily Mirror. “He got to the stage where he needed a change of scenery and a different movie.
“We want to be that movie for him because if we want to get to where we want to be, we need to build it around talents like Phil, because at his best he is a high-level player.
“All good teams have game-changers who the opposition are really concerned about before a ball is kicked. Phil has that status and he is giving belief to his team-mates.
“Our strikers Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings want him alongside them because he delivers on the big stage. I don’t control transfer fees or wages.
Coutinho in a ‘good place’
“All I can do is give my opinion to (sporting director) Johan Lange, (chief executive) Christian Purslow and the owners. They are watching the games and they will make the final decision. Phil has shown what he is capable of so far.”
Coutinho caused Southampton all sorts of problems on Saturday and could have had two goals before setting up Douglas Luiz for Villa’s second, cushioning down a great Calum Chambers pass.
He eventually got on the scoresheet in the 52nd minute when his shot deflected in off James Ward-Prowse.
Villa made it 4-0 shortly afterwards and Gerrard was delighted with his old pal.
Gerrard told BBC Match of the Day: “We’ve got Phil back fit and in a really good place. He was back to his Liverpool form today and he was a touch above.”
Coutinho has scored three goals and grabbed three assists in nine Premier League games since arriving at the start of 2022.