Can Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho establish himself as one of the best players in the league?
Liverpool have started the season in great form and are currently joint top of the table. They have lost just one of their first nine matches and are building momentum ahead of an easier run of fixtures. They will certainly be involved in the battle for a top four finish, while a title challenge is a possibility if they maintain their good start. Jurgen Klopp has now been in charge for over a year and the players have now adapted to his methods. The German will be looking for further improvement over the rest of the season, but he will be pleased with the start.
One player that has come a long way under the guidance of Klopp is Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian has been tipped for big things since joining Liverpool from Inter Milan and he is now beginning to establish himself as one of the best players in the league. At the age of 24, he will be hoping to push on to help Liverpool challenge for trophies and win individual awards. He certainly has the talent and is now in an environment that will get the best from him. That has been evident during the first nine matches, with the midfielder starting all but one.
He has contributed four goals and two assists, which is a good return considering he is playing in a team filled with excellent attacking options. Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge are all going to contribute a lot of goals as the season progresses. There were some fearing that the Liverpool attack wouldn’t click and they would get in each other’s way. However, this hasn’t been the case and it can be argued that Coutinho has been the star.
The 24-year-old has created 21 chances so far, which is an average of one every 31.6 minutes. This highlights his creativity and how it has improved under Klopp. Last season, he created a chance every 40.7 minutes, which is significantly lower than the start of this campaign. The Brazilian is on course for his best season in terms of goals and assists.
Liverpool are the fittest team in the league and every player is expected to work hard when the opposition have the ball. Coutinho isn’t as good at retrieving the ball as some of his fellow attackers, but he is improving. At the start of this season, he has averaged 1.2 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per game. This is a part of his game that he will need to improve further to please Klopp, but he is heading in the right direction.
Coutinho has a well-rounded game and should now be considered as one of the best in his position in the league. His ability to score and create is bettered by few in the Premier League. Although he needs to show this level of performance across a whole season, his start to the season will encourage Liverpool fans, who are desperate to establish themselves as one of the top four clubs in the league once again. They don’t have many top quality players and place togetherness above individual talent, but Coutinho blends the two together. He is crucial to this Liverpool team.
There is still work to do before Coutinho can be considered as one of the best players in the league, but he is approaching that level. In the past, he has been inconsistent and suffered from dry spells. That hasn’t been the case this season as he is influencing the majority of games that he is part of. He now needs to target ten goals and ten assists. If he manages that, he will emerge as one of the best in the league.
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