Philippe Coutinho explains how Steven Gerrard convinced him into Aston Villa move

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Steven Gerrard will be hoping to save Philippe Coutinho’s career after a horrendous spell at Barcelona was cut short with a six-month loan move to Aston Villa and Coutinho admits he has “big” admiration for his ex-Liverpool team-mate, who convinced the Brazilian to move to Villa Park.

Coutinho officially joined Villa on Tuesday after being made available for loan by his parent club Barcelona.

He has endured a nightmare few seasons at the Catalan club, amassing just 106 appearances in four years either side of a loan move to Bayern Munich.

The diminutive wizard was rumoured to be leaving this winter, and has since joined Villa where he will look to show his brilliance on British shores once again after a successful spell at Liverpool prior to his La Liga misery.

Having scored 28 goals in his last 71 league games at Anfield, Gerrard will be hopeful of helping Coutinho rediscover the spark he so regularly showed as his team-mate at Liverpool.

And the Liverpool hero was a huge reason for Coutinho’s move, with the midfield maestro hoping to ‘repay’ the man he used to share a dressing room with.

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“It’s a pleasure to be here, it’s a great club,” Coutinho told Villa’s official website.

“I spoke a lot with Stevie and he told me about the club, the ambitions of the club and his ambitions. Of course, I’m very happy to be here and to enjoy the football here.

“I know Stevie for a long time. I played with him, I learned a lot with him and he’s a guy who I have big admiration for.

“I hope to do my best here and for sure I have hard work and I know many of the people on his staff. I hope together we can do good work.

“When I spoke with him, after the meeting, it was clear for me that I wanted to be here and I think it was [arranged] quickly.

“I’m happy to be here. I’m looking forward to meeting the fans, to being on the pitch. I know and I feel that they’re happy that I’m here,” Coutinho added.

“I want to repay that on the pitch and enjoy my football. I’m looking forward to being on the pitch. I always want to be at my best, doing my work. That’s what I work hard for every day.

“I hope it will be a great rest of the season here.”

Villa currently lie 14th in the Premier League table, although a win in their game in hand would take them 11th.

But the addition of Coutinho, with Villa also wanting to sign Everton left-back Lucas Digne, means the club have strengthened massively under Gerrard and should be aiming to become a permanent top-half fixture.

They take on Manchester United on Saturday in a bid to do so.

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