MX23RW : Sunday, November 18 10:45:39

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers defends "brilliant" Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists that he has no worries regarding Philippe Coutinho following the midfielder's lacklustre start to the season.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has insisted that he has "no qualms" about Philippe Coutinho after the Brazilian faced criticism following his performance in the Champions League in midweek.

The 22-year-old received plenty of plaudits during pre-season, but has so far been unable to replicate that form in the early stages of the season.

Rodgers has confirmed that he initially wanted to give the midfielder a break, but due to injuries within his squad, was forced to play Coutinho in last Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa.

"He's a brilliant young player, a fantastic young player," Rodgers said in this afternoon's press conference. "I've got no qualms about him - he's a big, big talent.

"He has lit up the Premier League since he came to the club. He's going to have some games where he won't be at his best, but he always gives his best and that's all I ever ask of the players. The kid is a great boy who wants to do well. He's very conscious that I have absolutely no doubts about him."

Coutinho was substituted in the second half of Liverpool's 2-1 win over Ludogorets Razgrad in their opening Champions League group game at Anfield on Tuesday.


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Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool celebrates scoring the third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on March 30, 2014
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