Premier League

Enrique: Coutinho is crucial

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Sat, 08 Jun 2013 17:29:00

Jose Enrique has backed Philippe Coutinho to spearhead Liverpool's push for a top-four finish in 2013/14.

The Reds fell well short of the UEFA Champions League places during Brendan Rodgers' first year in charge, but progress is expected to be made next term.

A return to European football's top table is the ultimate target for those at Anfield, and they feel they are piecing together a side capable of reaching that goal.

Coutinho is among those to have been drafted in to provide a spark and he impressed greatly following his January arrival from Inter Milan.

The Brazilian playmaker will be looking to maintain his high standards during his first full season in England, and Enrique believes he has the potential to become a talismanic figure.

He told the club's official website: "Coutinho is a very special player. His vision and his passing is incredible and he's an amazing lad as well.

"It was really good to have him in the team and he proved to be a great signing. For me, Coutinho was the best player in the Premier League in the second half of the season.

"He's still young and improving but I think he will be very important for us next season when we will fight to get into the top four. Hopefully he will help us achieve our target of the Champions League.

"We will have some new players as well to help us next season and if they do as well as the two players we signed in January then we will be in a great position.

"As well as Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge was on fire. He scored lots of goals and showed he has all the qualities needed to be one of the best strikers in the Premier League."

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