Premier League: Liverpool's Coutinho and Henderson earn plaudits from Brendan Rodgers
Last Updated: 11/02/14 5:44pm
Brendan Rodgers: Has tipped Jordan Henderson to star for England
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed his delight at the progress made by Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson this season.
The midfield duo have caught the eye with a string of impressive performances, and both stood out in Saturday's 5-1 demolition of Arsenal.
Coutinho arrived at Anfield from Inter Milan last year and has proved a valuable playmaker, while Henderson has also cemented a regular first-team place after being regarded as a fringe player for most of last season.
On Coutinho, Rodgers said: "He's got wonderful technique but obviously coming into the British game and this league there are other components you need to play.
"He's five foot seven, he's got brilliant technique, he's tactically cute and clever, but physically he's has everything to cope.
"People always wonder about small players in this league, can they play and can they cope?
"I think for players like him and Joe Allen, it's about the talent and if you've got the strength, your brain, the power and the mentality, you can succeed.
"If you talked to him I think he'd say one of the elements of his game he's improved are his defensive qualities - and he needs that because it's important for us and how we play.
"He's not going to be diving in jumping into challenges but he can intercept, he can block, he can get up to people and press the ball.
"You see with the fourth goal against Arsenal how he intercepted. His positioning is good so he can block passes and intercept.
"He's got a wonderful feel for a pass that not many players have. You either get midfield players who are holding midfield players or they're runners - he's one that can do both.
"He can get on the ball, penetrate with his passing, and he gives us a wonderful cutting edge to go and put our talented players in."
Rodgers also had high praise for Henderson ahead of Wednesday's trip to rock-bottom Fulham, who Henderson almost joined two summers ago, and tipped him for a place in England's World Cup squad.
"Jordan has got everything physically," Rodgers added. "He has stature as a player and I have been mightily impressed with his tactical idea of the game and now he looks like he is ready to play for England for many years.
"Jordan can break a line on his run, can press and run and tactically he is improving so much.
"The way he is working, we would want to secure his services (on a new contract). He still has all his best years ahead of him and you can see his growth and development.
"He will want to get better and I'm sure it is in the interests of the club to tie him down.
"For me you had three England players on the pitch on Saturday with Jordan, Stevie (Steve Gerrard) controlling and (Arsenal's) Jack Wilshere.
"You would have Stevie playmaking from behind and two attacking players who can run, get forward and get into the box and can press.
"With Stevie's experience controlling from behind it would be hard to pick a better three than that."