One thing that’s made Liverpool fans happy this season has been the form of their superstar midfielder, Philippe Coutinho.
There’s almost nothing the fans want to see more than a goal from Coutinho, and his spectacular long-range strikes and silky ball skills have meant the midfielder has become a key contributor for the Reds this season.
The 5ft 7in Brazilian starlet arrived at Anfield just over three years ago from Inter Milan for £8.5 million, and the player of small stature is having a big impact on Merseyside.
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His first season in a cameo role was just a glimpse of his ability as he scored three goals and delivered a further seven assists in just over ten games of playing time. Despite taking some knocks during his second season, he still chipped in with good figures as he netted five times and grabbed seven assists.
2014/15 was his best season in terms of playing time, although his output remained at a similar level - five goals scored and five assists.
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Then came Jurgen Klopp
This season, the German’s tactics appear to be getting the best out of the mercurial midfielder, with the Brazilian having his most productive campaign in Premier League football in his three-and-a-half seasons in England.
Despite injuries restricting his playing time to a mere 21 games this season, Coutinho has still managed to register seven goals and five assists in the league, and much of his good form has come since the arrival of Klopp.
Before the German’s arrival, Coutinho had scored just once and delivered only two assists. Since then, he has plundered a further six strikes and four assists. Albeit these stats have come in more games, but there has also been an upturn in results at Liverpool following Klopp's appointment which suggests the manager has been an effective influence on the side and the Brazilian in particular.
Coutinho’s two goals at Stamford Bridge this season stand out as wonder strikes that only a few players are actually capable of, and his brilliant solo effort at Old Trafford in the Europa League also shows the confidence he is playing with; nonchalantly chipping the ball over David de Gea from close to the by-line.
His form improvement has also been recognised by a nomination for the PFA Young Player of the Year Award, which further underlines the excellent season he is having with Liverpool.
Although he is unlikely to win the award, it shows how far the player has come, as he is now an established name in English football.
Coutinho recently took his good form into Europe as he scored a superb curling effort in Liverpool’s dramatic 4-3 win over Dortmund in the Europa League and now he is looking to go from strength to strength for his national team Brazil.
Former Brazil midfielder Gilberto Silva had praise for Coutinho recently, singling him out as someone who should take more responsibility in the national setup.
“It’s important for Coutinho and the other players to help out and ease the pressure on Neymar a bit” - Gilberto Silva
Certainly the boy is becoming a man for both club and country. As long as the Brazilian ace can stay fit, Liverpool fans and Klopp will be able to enjoy plenty more.