Luis Suarez is proud of Philippe Coutinho, and claims that the Brazilian has matured a lot since he last saw him at Liverpool, a club the Uruguayan left to join Barcelona in 2014.
Suarez moved for a massive € 81 million back then, but Coutinho went for almost twice as much a few weeks ago. Though he has netted against Valencia in the Copa del Rey, he has yet to make a huge impact in La Liga.
Yet Suarez (who was rumoured to have lobbied for Coutinho’s arrival) has defended his new team-mate:
“When the opportunity came up for me to come to Barcelona, I told Gerrard to look after [Coutinho] when I left,” Suarez told Barcelona’s official 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 emerge as a player because I knew the quality he had, but I admire the responsibility he took on at such a young age.”
“When he’s on the pitch, he transforms,” Suarez added. “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.”