Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes that the arrival of Philippe Coutinho will add valuable competition for places at the club.
The Brazilian youngster arrived from Inter for a reported 8.5-million-pound fee late in the January transfer window but he has only just been able to begin training with the Reds.
Rodgers was keen to praise the form of the players who have collected draws against Arsenal and Manchester City but hoped that the likes of Coutinho would press them for their positions in the starting XI.
“He’s a top young player with big experiences and bringing him into the group adds that competition,” Rodgers told reporters ahead of Liverpool’s clash against West Brom on Monday night.
“There’s no doubt that the team who have been involved in the last couple of games have been exceptional but it’s very important that we’ve got players in the side who are fighting to get into the team.”
The club’s other high-profile signing in January, Daniel Sturridge, made his debut in the FA Cup only a few days after being signed from fellow Premier League club Chelsea, but Rodgers insists he will not rush Coutinho after a recent injury.
“He’s a young player I’ve got very high hopes for but Daniel was ready to come in and play – we’ll see how young Philippe goes,” he added.
“He was with the medical team with Milan and he has come here and we have assessed where he is in terms of his fitness.
“He trained with the group on Friday and we’ll observe him and see where he’s at but competition for places is what we want, that was the whole idea of bringing him in.
“The key for us has always been to build a competitive squad that would enable us to challenge. That will keep us going and allowing us to develop.”
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