Football

Philippe Coutinho: Liverpool legend in the making?

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Coutinho has impressed since joining Liverpool (©GettyImages)
Coutinho has impressed since joining Liverpool (©GettyImages).

Every cloud has a silver lining as the old cliché goes. 

Luis Suarez's moment of madness against Chelsea was a pivotal moment in Brendan Rodger's opening season as Liverpool manager and the Uruguayan's latest outburst threatened to derail the good progress made by the Reds in the second half of the season. 

Not many would have been surprised if the Liverpool team had combusted shortly after this incident. After all, Suarez's goals had been the difference on so many occasions over the course of the season, how would Liverpool react?

Superbly is the answer. A trip to St. James' Park to face Newcastle was Liverpool's next fixture following 'bite gate'. Enter a diminutive Brazilian, who would go on to capture the game and put the Magpies to the sword. Pass after pass, Philippe Coutinho carved the sluggish Newcastle defence apart.

The man from Rio de Janeiro finished the match with two direct assists and won the free kick which saw Mathieu Debuchy sent off and Jordan Henderson score the subsequent free kick. 

Coutinho's impressive form since joining Liverpool in January has given credence to the reputation he enjoyed as a wonder kid when he arrived at Inter Milan in 2010 and also raises the question as to what the Italians were thinking of by allowing him to leave for a paltry £8.5 million.

Coutinho's performances since his arrival have more than repaid the confidence shown in him by Rodgers. Coutinho and Liverpool's other January acquisition, Daniel Sturridge, represent the clubs new approach to transfers. That is, buying players with vast potential and who are in need of a club to play them week in, week out in order to showcase their talents.

The success of Coutinho and Sturridge since January will be a welcome relief, as many of Liverpool's recent expensive purchases have failed to produce performances befitting their price tags. After all, it is amazing to think that Coutinho and Sturridge's combined transfer fees equate to only £500, 000 more than what Liverpool paid for Stewart Downing.

One of Liverpool's biggest criticisms in the season just gone was that they relied upon the tricky feet and consistent goals of Luis Suarez to win them points. Suarez's subsequent ban has allowed the creative talents of Coutinho to take centre stage and it's fair to say he's flourished as Liverpool's playmaker. A proper 'number 10', Coutinho's vision, combined with his phenomenal range of passing have added another dimension of unpredictability to Liverpool's attack.

Those who have watched Coutinho will notice his penchant for playing long distance passes with the outside of his boot. Without even discussing the aesthetic beauty of such a pass (and it really is easy on the eye, to say the least) this trait of Coutinho's game has been opening up so many avenues for other Liverpool players to take advantage of and punish the opposition.

If Coutinho has been the architect of Liverpool's attack, then Sturridge has been the executioner. Quite a few of his 11 goals since joining the Reds have come as a result of Coutinho's passing and dribbling.

When attempting to predict Philippe Coutinho's fortunes next season, it is fair to say he possesses all the credentials to play a vital role in Liverpool's assault on the top four. 

His budding partnership with Daniel Sturridge will go from strength to strength and if Luis Suarez decides to stay another season then Liverpool fans have a mouth-watering prospect to look forward to.

It is a necessity for Liverpool to buy defensive cover this season and in particular some competition for Lucas in the defensive midfielder position. If Coutinho's talents are to shine next term it is imperative he is not relied upon for defensive duties. Philippe Coutinho enjoyed a fruitful start to his career on Merseyside and it will be very interesting to watch how he develops next season. A star in the making, for sure.


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Topics:
Luis Suarez
Football
Daniel Sturridge
Liverpool
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