Newcastle United v Liverpool - Premier League.

Philippe Coutinho explains how Jurgen Klopp has developed one area of his game

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Despite playing only 15 minutes in Sunday's Merseyside derby, Philippe Coutinho still managed to make the headlines.

It wasn't an action of his that caused him to make the news, though, as Jurgen Klopp controversially left both him and his fellow Brazilian Roberto Firmino out of Liverpool's starting XI.

That move backfired on Klopp, with the Reds only mustering three shots on target out of 20, despite having 79% possession, and Everton took advantage with Wayne Rooney's penalty cancelling out another Mo Salah goal.

It meant Liverpool missed out on the chance to leapfrog Chelsea into third place, while Tottenham and Burnley's wins narrowed the gap from fourth to seventh to two points.

Klopp's move seemed more bizarre considering Coutinho has scored in the last two derbies at Anfield against the Blues, though the German was more concerned about the awarding of Everton's penalty than his team selection.

Klopp hasn't fielded the 'Fab Four' of Coutinho, Firmino, Salah and Sadio Mane from the start in the Premier League since the 3-0 win against Southampton in mid-November.

The former Dortmund boss has been trying to rest his star men in order to cope with the extra demands of the Champions League.

When they started together last week against Spartak, though, they won 7-0, with Coutinho bagging a hat-trick.

After all of the speculation concerning a potential move to Barcelona in the summer, Coutinho has been in fine form for Liverpool, getting nine goals and seven assists in 15 appearances.

And he has hailed the role Klopp has played in his development, citing the improvement in his understanding of the game as a key reason.

The Brazilian has been employed in a deeper role primarily this term in order to accommodate Firmino, Salah and Mane, but he says that is something he's very much enjoyed.

"He's helped me a lot. I think the way he's helped me to play when we don't have the ball, when the team is under pressure, is really different," he started.


"We've changed how we play. We've tried to switch to a different style and I think that, bit-by-bit, I'm getting better with that and hopefully that can continue.

"I'm now in a deeper position and I'm always trying to improve, and be able to score goals and set off moves, because my position demands it. I think playing there is a position where you get to play the ball a great deal.

"You become more involved in the game. It's a position that I feel that I've adapted to and I like it."

Leicester City v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Third Round

Coutinho also praised Mane and Salah's role in the new style Klopp has implemented, saying that their football intelligence has vastly improved them.

Liverpool set an English record of 23 goals in the Champions League group stage, and Salah is the Premier League's top scorer with 13 goals.


"Sadio and Mo are both great players," Coutinho said. "They are both very quick and they give us options down the sides. They are players with great intelligence.

"They play in a quite advanced position  and the line that they play always creates those spaces for us with their movement. They are very important players for the team."

After Sunday's result, Liverpool fans will be hoping they get to see the 'Fab Four' in action together more often in order to ensure a return to the Champions League next year.

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Brazil Football
Premier League
Mohamed Salah
Roberto Firmino
Philippe Coutinho

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