He watched the every move of Ronaldinho, in particular, and marvelled at how he pulled the strings for Barcelona in his pomp. Coutinho envisaged the day when he too could have a chance to emulate his two heroes.
At Anfield he has been given an ideal platform, and while it may be premature to be thinking about elevating him into a similar category the portents are good. The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ next summer is in his thoughts, and Coutinho admits it would be a dream to play in the tournament for his country.
In Brendan Rodgers he has a club manager whose 'death by football' mantra means he will enjoy a lot of possession this season. The crucial factor will be what he does with it but on the evidence of his first four months in England and a handful of pre-season friendlies the omens are good.
Idols in yellow
Speaking about his heroes, Coutinho told Press Association Sport: "[Ronaldinho and Kaka] play more or less my position and they were my inspirations as I was growing up. I think both of them were super-excellent players, especially when Ronaldinho played at Barcelona it was like magic. Every time I had a chance I would watch him because he was someone who I looked up to."
Coutinho turned 21 in June and he still has a lot to learn about English football, but he is already seen by fans as a crucial part of the the club's future. It is a weight of expectation which does not bother a player who scored the Reds' final goal of last season at Anfield in May to cap a promising four months following his arrival from Inter Milan for £8.5m.
He knows Liverpool can be the perfect place to showcase his abilities and, with a longer-term view, could gain him enough recognition to represent his country's senior team - with the added incentive of the FIFA World Cup on home soil.
"Of course it is a dream of mine. I need to have a good season at Liverpool, take my chances here and hopefully that would give me a chance of being called up for the national team," he said. "It would be my biggest step in football and I will do my utmost to be there."
The hustle and bustle of the Premier League may be an unlikely place for a young, slightly-built playmaker to choose to ply his trade but Coutinho welcomes the challenge. He admits he had problems at Inter, where he moved from Vasco da Gama in 2010 aged 18, and in only his second season he was loaned out to Espanyol.
Spain seemed an ideal location for him to develop, but when Liverpool came calling he leapt at the chance - even if there was no lure of UEFA Champions League football. "It had no weight on my consideration to come to Liverpool," he said.
"Obviously we are not where we would like to be which is playing in the Champions League - or even the Europa League - but we as players will do our best in order to be able to be playing in those competitions next season.
"It was a dream for me to play in a big team like Inter but I had tough times there and that was difficult but now my mind is at Liverpool and that is where I want to be," the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup-winner said. "My team-mates will help me to face the future much easier, although I am well aware there will be difficult moments but I can't let my head go down - my experience in Italy has helped me.
"Because it is a different style of football and it is much more intensive and quicker here, Brazilian players have to work hard to be able to do what we need to do when we play. The training is hard but at a good pace and that helped me progress in my adaptation," Coutinho continued.
"And for me it is an honour to play in the same team as our captain Steven Gerrard. Everyone in Brazil watches European football and they enjoy watching players like him."