Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has heaped praise on Philippe Coutinho, claiming the Brazilian number 10 is "a wonderful reference and the brain" of his new team -- following Luis Suarez's move to Barcelona.

Even though Liverpool kicked off their US pre-season tour with a 1-0 defeat to Roma, Coutinho excelled in the playmaker role playing behind Fabio Borini.

"Coutinho is the brain in our team, the continuity player. He might not score many goals, but he's a wonderful reference for the team," Rodgers said to Liverpool official website.

"He is the one that gets the team ticking, gets the movement in front of the ball. He goes and gets on the ball. He's a fantastic talent for such a young player and he's still gaining his fitness.

"He makes the crowd get off their seat. For someone so small, he's very tough and robust. He's a wonderful technician that has a great idea, tactically, of the game."

The manager also believes that despite the defeat, the game against a big side like Rome was very useful to evaluate Liverpool's squad ahead of a season with Champions League football.

"These are two Champions League teams, two teams that are at a good level of pre-season and two sets of committed players that are very competitive," he said.

"Pre-season friendly or not, both teams wanted to play well and work well. I thought it was a perfect game at this stage of our preparation phase. This is one of a number of good games that we've got coming up that are going to really sharpen us up for the beginning of the season.

"The most important objective is that we're in a really good physical condition for our first game of the season, against Southampton. And that technically and tactically, we'll have honed up all of the principles and ideas that have made us so successful in the last couple of years. That will be the most important result for us."