This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
INTER MILAN must wince every time they see Philippe Coutinho in a Liverpool FC shirt. In January, the Reds acquired themselves a gem of a player from the cash-strapped Italian giants.
He didn't fit into the system under manager Andrea Stramaccioni and the Nerazzurri cashed in.
They must surely now wish they hadn't.
There was some scepticism from Liverpool fans who asked: 'If Inter Milan are prepared to sell him then why would he good enough for us?'
Critically, Brendan Rodgers knew exactly how good he was.
And he knew how much of a deal they were getting.
Coutinho is blossoming into a superb player - but even in his most vivid of dreams, Rodgers could not have imagined this boy from Brazil starting so well.
The 20-year-old has the look of innocence on his face but his feet are full of devilment and menace; the Premier League is quickly being exposed to his wicked ways.
And if Daniel Sturridge's hat-trick at Craven Cottage yesterday made the club's £12m outlay look like money very well spent, then the cash transferred into the accounts at the San Siro looks like an even shrewder piece of business.
The speed at which Coutinho has found his rhythm at Liverpool has been hugely impressive - most fans have been taken aback - and his performance against Fulham reinforced the belief that the Reds were very smart in the last transfer window.
Shy off the field but supremely confident on it, he was Liverpool's heartbeat against Fulham - he made them tick. Full of invention, trickery and cunning, Coutinho tormented Fulham.
He made sure that even without Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, Liverpool retained the quality in the final third to hurt the opposition.
Where Nuri Sahin failed to add the much-needed guile to Liverpool's play in the first half of the season, Coutinho is succeeding in his place.
His pass for Sturridge's hat-trick goal - an almost nonchalant swing of his right boot - was delivered to perfection and wholly in line with a midfielder playing with incredible self-assurance.
Of course, there have been times when Coutinho has struggled to make an impact in games but largely his contribution has been significant.
It was remarked, on both sides of the city divide, how well he fared in the derby, he won praise from further afield for his dissection of Newcastle United and now there is his showing against Fulham to drool over.
Fulham had too many players who appeared to already be on their summer holidays but it took the talent of Coutinho, and one or two others, to cruelly expose their disinterest.
In his post-match press conference, 90% of the questions thrown at Rodgers concerned Sturridge.
He deserves credit for putting his faith in a player whose reputation was making people increasingly uneasy and Rodgers should rightly take satisfaction when the striker performs as he did in west London. But in the January transfer window, when there was little room for error, the manager also bought Coutinho.
Rodgers believed he could not only revive Sturridge's career but also the young Brazilian's, who had found himself sidelined at Inter and in danger of losing his way.
Although the manager does admit that the speed with which Coutinho has responded has left him surprised.
"He has in fairness," Rodgers told the ECHO.
"He'd had over 100 games under his belt, at big clubs, when he came in here so I knew he had the temperament. For me, it was going to be interesting to see how he coped with the physicality of the Premier League."
Mixed in with all the flair is fight with Coutinho.
Yesterday, he again showed a desire to muck in and battle where needed. That must give Rodgers as much pleasure as the aptitude he has for making defenders quiver.
"He has man strength," Rodgers said.
"He's not a boy, he's 20. He may be small in stature but he has man strength. His body work is incredible and his passing and comfort on the ball is amazing.
"We're trying to build a team of winners that are technically competent. He fits perfectly in what we are trying to do."