Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has signed a new long-term contract with the club, committing him to the Reds until at least 2022.
The Brazilian was expected to sign terms on an improved deal in the coming days, and his extension was announced by the club on Wednesday morning.
Coutinho’s new contract is believed to make him Liverpool’s highest earning player, with some reports suggesting wages of over £200,000 per week – crucially, it doesn’t include a release clause amid interest from La Liga giants Barcelona.
His new terms will come into effect on July 1, and serve as a real statement of intent from the Reds.
With six goals and seven assists in 18 games so far this season, Coutinho has developed into one of Liverpool’s most important players, and this is set to continue long into the future.
At just 24, there is still room for the ex-Inter Milan midfielder to improve, too, and he will remain under the best manager to oversee that in Jurgen Klopp.
Having returned to full fitness following an ankle injury at the end of 2016, Coutinho will be looking to recapture his form on the news of his contract extension.
His next opportunity to shine should come against Southampton in their League Cup semi-final second-leg clash at Anfield on Wednesday night, in a must-win fixture for Klopp’s Reds.
Coutinho has scored 34 and assisted 35 in 163 games for Liverpool since his £8.5 million move from Inter four years ago, honing his craft to become one of the Premier League‘s most formidable talents.
Fostering a strong understanding with Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, the midfielder almost tasted title glory in 2013/14, but the Reds ultimately fell short.
Now alongside compatriot and close friend Roberto Firmino, along with the likes of Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane, Coutinho has another opportunity to do so in the future.
Though Liverpool have suffered a drop in form at the start of 2017, this could still come in 2016/17.
The Reds are 10 points off leaders Chelsea, sitting in fourth, but with 16 games left to play Klopp will be eager to see his side bridge the gap and make a positive push for success come May.
Coutinho’s performances will be central to this, with his creativity and goal threat, paired with an underrated work ethic, a key feature of Klopp’s forward line, cutting in from the left.
This Liverpool side are close to the quality required to challenge at the very top, and retaining those central to that is of paramount importance, with Coutinho at the front of the pack.