Liverpool boast one of the most impressive attacking line-ups in the Premier League, with the 'SaS' partnership, Victor Moses and Steven Gerrard's ever present eye for the killer ball. But one man holds the key to how far the Anfield team can go this season, Philippe Coutinho.
The 21-year-old has been a revelation since his £8.5m move from Inter Milan in January and in the few months he has been with the Reds, has proven the perfect go-between from the defence to Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge up front.
Upon his arrival many looked at his small stature at 5ft 7in (171cm) and questioned whether he had the strength to thrive in the rough and tumble of the Premier League, but his pace and skill has more than made up for what the Brazilian lacks in muscle.
He was the man who stepped up after Suarez was banned for biting and his performances in the role just behind the main striker have been brilliant.
Last season, albeit in much different circumstances, Liverpool went to St. James' Park and put on an absolute clinic as Coutinho starred in a 6-0 drubbing of Newcastle, this year without the little maestro Liverpool barely scraped a point despite playing against ten men for around 50 minutes.
Of course you can't blame a vastly different result entirely on the fact Liverpool were without Coutinho, the Magpies put in a very determined performance particularly following the dismissal of Mapu Yanga-Mbiwa and fully deserved their point, but it's the way Liverpool played following the sending-off that perplexed.
Brendan Rodgers relatively quickly turned a 3-5-2 formation into a 4-4-2 and while the two wide defenders were playing more as wing backs than in a defensive position, I think Liverpool would have benefited from someone like Joe Allen who has the passing eye along with Raheem Sterling and Luis Alberto.
Either way Liverpool's approach was far too direct and on the occasion they did have men out wide Suarez was able to play in Sturridge for the head-in equaliser. With Moses playing just behind the front two there was also a lack of creativity that was there earlier in the season.
This is where Coutinho will make all the difference against ten or eleven he has that ability to spread the play that I think would have made all the difference versus Newcastle.
Since picking up his shoulder injury against Swansea in September, Liverpool have only picked up two wins, both coming against teams currently in the bottom three.
After looking like major threats to the top four after the first few games, Liverpool have taken a step back and while that maybe was to be expected, some teams who may have seen Liverpool as a threat to play against are starting to see chinks in the armour.
As a result they will be very happy in a week or two when Coutinho makes his return and the little man from Rio can start producing his magic once again.
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