Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard says 'magical' Philipe Coutinho holds the key to the club's success over the next next few years after the midfielder put pen to paper on a new long-term deal this week, ending all speculation of a move to La Liga giants Barcelona.
The 24-year-old will become the club's highest-paid player, with his new contract keeping him at the club until the end of the 2021/22 campaign.
And Gerrard, who is set to return to Anfield as a youth coach in February, says Coutinho is the sort of player you build a team around. "I think for any team you have always got to try and keep your best players and Philippe has been instrumental over the last couple of years.
"He is the type of player you want to build your team around. And if Liverpool are to be successful in the coming years then I am sure he will have a big part to play in it," the 36-year-old said at the launch event this week for the Star Sixes tournament, to be held at the O2 Arena in London in July.
The 2005 Champions League winner played with Coutinho for two-and-a-half seasons after the Brazilian's £8.5 million move to Liverpool from Inter Milan in 2013, and witnessed his development first-hand. "Philippe's been instrumental over the last couple of years, he's grown and become a world-class talent. I've trained against him on a daily basis and I've played with him, and he's a phenomenal footballer," he added.