Football

Philippe Coutinho ready for Europa League challenge

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Philippe Coutinho insists Liverpool must "remain calm" if their form is to recover following back-to-back defeats and are ready for the challenges of the Europa League.

The Reds have lost their previous two matches against West Ham United and Manchester United and momentum has derailed in the Anfield camp following a positive start to the season.

Liverpool have a chance to get back on the right track when their European campaign kicks off away against Bordeaux in the Europa League on Thursday night and Brendan Rodgers will be desperate pick up three points in France.

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Coutinho missed his side's 2-1 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend following a red card in the frustrating 3-1 home defeat to West Ham the match previously.

The Brazil international is hungry to get back into action and feels Liverpool can once again rediscover the form that seen them scoop seven points from their opening three Premier League games.

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"It is vital to stay calm, mainly because we are just at the beginning in all competitions,” Coutinho told Liverpoolfc.com“We have a long season ahead and many things can happen. The Premier League is tough - all clubs have great teams - and we know twists and turns will happen.

“We have to not only remain calm but also to work hard to achieve what we want on the pitch.

“It feels bad to be out and not being available to be selected and help the team but we have to look ahead now and get over these two recent games we lost.

“There are lessons to be learned so we can move on and avoid making the same mistakes. We have a great team here and we know we can improve - and that's what we're trying to do right now.”

Poor Displays

After an underwhelming sixth place finish in the Premier League last season, Rodgers worked hard in the summer to improve his side and added seven new recruits, spending over £70 million in transfer funds.

The Reds started the new campaign brightly and looked a team with a new lease of life. They clinched seven points from their opening three games which included an away win against Stoke City and draw versus Arsenal at the Emirates.

Liverpool have top-four ambitions come May but their recent domestic form has dented their chances of achieving that goal. 

The losses against both West Ham and Manchester United were both severely disappointing and Rodgers' men were well below par in both games. 

Europa League

Coutinho scooped Liverpool's August Player of the Year award and was sorely missed last weekend at Old Trafford.

He's back in Liverpool's squad to meet Bordeaux on Thursday, despite Rodgers leaving a number of his first-team players on Merseyside including Christian Benteke.

The Reds have been disappointing in Europe in recent years and some fans have doubted the prestige of the Europa League and whether the competition should be taken seriously if it is going to effect domestic form.

With the winner of the Europa League guaranteed a spot in next season's Champions League, some Kopites are welcoming the competition with open arms and Coutinho admits Liverpool will give 100 per cent in the tournament.

“It's a very important game as it's our first in the Europa League," the former Inter Milan playmaker added. “We know how important it is to have a good start in a competition like this and everyone's focused on doing well in this game.

“After two consecutive defeats, we're conscious there's going to be more pressure from the outside - we have to do things right on the pitch so we can achieve good results.”

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Topics:
Premier League
Liverpool
Europa League
Football
Philippe Coutinho

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