Jurgen Klopp’s plans over the summer, as well as equipping his squad to cope with the demands of European football, might include mastering a tactical scheme that includes Philippe Coutinho as a central midfielder.
The Brazilian was deployed in a No. 8 role against West Ham and stole the show, scoring twice and registering an assist as Liverpool cruised to a 4-0 win.
Jamie Carragher said Coutinho was “f*****g brilliant!,” while Jurgen Klopp insisted that Coutinho needs to play in central positions where can be decisive.
“It was always clear Phil can play this [position], there's no doubt,” Klopp told reports, per Liverpool’s website. “If he starts on the wing, he is very often in this position.
“He was never a winger, he's always kind of a playmaker.
“It's not interesting where he's coming from, it's all [about] where he needs to be at one point. He needs to be in the decisive area in the middle of the park, he needs to be in shooting situations and all that stuff.”
But whether Klopp is able to make this a permanent thing depends entirely on whether Coutinho is still at the club next season.
The 24-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona. Last week, Spanish outlet Sport went so far as to say Coutinho has agreed to join the Blaugrana.
Coutinho reacted to Barcelona rumours
Coutinho reacted to the reports prior to Sunday’s win in an interview with ESPN Brazil.
The good news for Liverpool supporters? Coutinho says he hasn’t heard of Barca’s intentions. The bad news is that he’s “happy” to know they are interested in him.
"Barcelona is one of the best teams in the world, so far, nothing has come to me, because if anything comes, it comes to my manager, what I have to do is focus on the pitch,” the Brazil international said, per the Liverpool Echo.
"I have a contract with Liverpool, there are two games, there are a lot of chances for us to be in the Champions League next year.
"What I have to do is focus on football and those things are resolved by the business people.
"I'm happy to know that a great club has an interest, it's cool, for the recognition of their work, what I have to do is keep working hard.
"Liverpool is a great club and we have to put Liverpool back in the Champions League."
One question raised about a potential move to Barcelona is where would Coutinho fit in at the Camp Nou.
But based on Sunday's showing, he'd be a fine replacement for the ageing Andres Iniesta.
Will Coutinho leave Liverpool in the summer? Let us know in the comments section below!
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