Liverpool have made a very bright start to the season and Jurgen Klopp has finally got his attacking combination right. They are scoring goals for fun. The Reds have so far scored 18 goals this term and are tied with leaders Manchester City for goals scored. One player that started the season off for them the brightest is Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian, who is currently a subject of an interest from PSG, scored a brace against Arsenal on the opening day but since then, he has only scored one more, against Hull. He also has 2 assists to his name. Ever since he moved to Liverpool in January 2013, Coutinho has excited fans and pundits alike with his penchant for the spectacular. Be it immaculate free kicks or extravagant long shots, Coutinho has been busy racking up goals of this sort.
But this season, his influence on the side has slowly faded. Others such as Georginio Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino are the ones making a difference. Skipper Jordan Henderson too has been performing at a very high level. One notable game where Coutinho went absent was the 1-1 draw against Spurs. The Little magician, as he is fondly called by the Kop, failed to show up on the day. The trend continued in some other games too. Other midfield players have contributed hugely to Liverpool’s success with constant pressing and this technique employed by Klopp has paid dividends. Here are some of the reasons why Liverpool are no longer solely dependent on Philippe Coutinho –
Here are some of the reasons why Liverpool are no longer solely dependent on Philippe Coutinho –
Other players are lifting their game
Midfielders Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and new signing Georginio Wijnaldum have been performing exceptionally and Lallana, in particular, looks the most improved. He has contributed with invaluable goals from midfield. The former Southampton captain seems to have finally found his place in the team.
Jordan Henderson too looks a complete player in his first full season under Jurgen Klopp. Being the skipper seems to have given him more impetus to perform and he might never scale the heights of Stevie G but if he continues to put in such high-energy performances, he is in line to create his own legacy at Anfield.
Different approach-play and varied options upfront
Last season, Coutinho was the main focal point of Liverpool’s attacking play. Everything went through his feet and he had a control over things at all times. This season has been a different case. The arrival of Sadio Mane from Southampton could be the reason why. Mane’s robust and energetic performances on the right side have caused opposition defences a lot of trouble and he has now become a reliable source to receive the ball and make things happen. Whereas last season, they were over-dependent on Coutinho to do this.
Being played in a different position has affected him
Georginio Wijnaldum arrived from Newcastle in the summer. He has been deployed in a central midfield and the reason for this is his superior defensive skills and ability to track back. He has also been effective at pressing. Coutinho is not having the kind of influence that he’d like to have had. Jordan Henderson, Wijnaldum and Lallana are the current players playing midfield in Klopp’s 4-3-3 arrangement. Coutinho will do well to displace even one of them as they have been putting in some brilliant performances.
Inspite of all this his presence in the Liverpool lineup is a must. The player possesses the technical abilities to have an influence on games, even if it is from a wider role. He should look to cut in from the left-hand side and shoot when given space as he can rifle them into the top corner. Every Liverpool fan will be hoping for more such moments from him.