Liverpool have exceeded all expectations in the opening stages of the 2016/17 season and it would take a brave man to back against Jurgen Klopp’s men on current form. The Reds have earned impressive victories away at Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as thrashing defending champions Leicester City 4-1 at Anfield.
And while their surge up the Premier League table is down to a collective effort since the German arrived at the helm, Philippe Coutinho’s impact deserves special recognition.
On his day, Coutinho is different class. The Brazilian has plenty of potential and at just 24 years old, he could yet mature into a consistent elite talent. The Liverpool star has been linked with moves to the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid in recent times – and this shows just how incredibly gifted he is.
So far this season, he has been at the top of his game, showing the nous and skill to unlock even the sternest defences in the top flight; and Klopp knows just how integral he is to the club’s chances of winning a maiden Premier League title.
With the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge also attracting plenty of attention, Coutinho has managed to find that extra half-yard of space and that is all the little Brazilian needs to create a clear-cut opportunity for one of Liverpool’s talented forwards. In seven league fixtures, Coutinho has scored three goals and assisted two for his team-mates; essentially, he is usually at the centre of Liverpool’s positive work in attack.
Next up for Liverpool is a difficult fixture against arch-rivals Manchester United. At the time of writing, Klopp’s side are 23/20 to come out on top in that clash and there will be odds available on all of Liverpool’s Premier League matches at Betway.com. If Coutinho is on top form, he could tear United’s suspect defence apart – just as he did in their Europa League triumph at Old Trafford last season.
Since arriving at Anfield, Coutinho has matured into one of the most skilful and reliable stars in the famous Liverpool red – and Klopp has built around the attacking midfielder.
While the 24-year-old is capable of performing the spectacular and scoring 30-yard screamers, the former Borussia Dortmund boss recognises how effective and dangerous he is in attack in terms of possession and creativity. As of October 11th, Coutinho is one of Liverpool’s most potent offensive threats; recording 4.1 shots, 2.3 key passes and 2.4 successful dribbles on a weekly basis.
If they continue in this vein, Liverpool are capable of winning the title this season. The Reds have literally slipped up at the vital moment in the past but Klopp’s relentless, energetic approach will keep his players sharp and focused for the entire campaign.
Liverpool aren’t over-reliant on the little Brazilian but a long-term injury to Coutinho could be detrimental to their title hopes. In fact, many fans have actually called for the German to bench the player for “lesser” fixtures – risking an injury when 4-0 up against 10-man Hull City is just unnecessary.
Would Liverpool miss out on the title if Coutinho was ruled out for a prolonged spell? Not necessarily. However, it would certainly damage their Premier League aspirations. The Reds are on the verge of something special at Anfield and Klopp will continue to build around the little Brazilian for as long as he remains at the club.
Coutinho is a unique talent and Liverpool fans should prepare themselves for plenty of success; the Klopp-Coutinho partnership has all the makings of a title-winning combination.