Simon Mignolet has called on Philippe Coutinho to continue thriving in a deeper role after the Brazil international produced a man-of-the-match display against West Ham United from central midfield on the weekend.
Coutinho, who has mainly operated as a left forward this season, lined up in a midfield diamond at the London Stadium, scoring twice and providing the assist for the opening goal in a 4-0 win.
Manager Jurgen Klopp has talked about moving Coutinho into a new position next season, believing playing in midfield would allow him to dictate play more often.
Mignolet says Liverpool can get the best out of Coutinho’s vision and creativity from the middle of the park.
“In that position he gets more touches of the ball and it worked well,” the shot-stopper told the Liverpool Echo. “They can’t really put one marker on to him. Philippe can distribute the ball in a brilliant way.
“In the Premier League you need creative players to open games up. You look at Chelsea, they have Eden Hazard. Man City have Raheem Sterling, David Silva or Kevin de Bruyne.
“Philippe’s pass put the first goal on a plate for Daniel [Sturridge]. That made it a different game. He’s a good boy who works hard. He’s very important to us.
“It was a big positive that he signed that new contract. We all hope he stays at Liverpool for many years to come.”
Coutinho, who continues to be linked with a move to Barcelona, signed a new five-year contract at Liverpool back in January, with ESPN FC reporting that no release clause was inserted and the deal made him the club’s highest-paid player with weekly wages of around £150,000.
Divock Origi, who scored Liverpool’s fourth on the weekend, described the Brazil international as a “joy” to play with.
“He has moments of magic,” Origi told the club’s official website. “I think he has a lot of talent and he’s a top player and an experienced player and he’s still only 24, so I think that’s very special.
“He helps us a lot, is there in the big moments and for me he is a joy to play with.”
Speaking last week, Klopp said Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, had assured him that they will not listen to any offers for Coutinho this summer.
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