Philippe Coutinho: The Future of Liverpool Football Club?
Love at first sight is total bollocks. Or so I thought.
The story of Romeo and Juliet is legendary and the in which they fell in to love together is, um, legendar-ier. While I wouldn’t dare suggest that I understand the intricate workings under the shiny hood that is love but I would like to say that this Romeo bloke couldn’t possibly have fallen in love merely by looking at Juliet. It might just be me but that sounds more like infatuation than love. The guy that wrote the play, Bill was it? Yes, him. He’d argue that love at first sight is perfectly possible and he probably did. I’m not sure I don’t pay much attention during class. I, do, however have an idea of what may, have happened and what many believe to happen to them. To explain I must set the scene.
17 February 2013, Anfield Road
Liverpool host Welsh side Swansea City in a Premier League clash. Now in order for this to make sense you must know that I’d not been on Twitter for a couple weeks and had missed all the speculative transfer talk about a diminutive Brazilian plying his trade in Serie A with Internazionale. I watched on from my laptop as the teams lead out from the change rooms as the Liverpool faithful sang the club’s anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ I noticed a small lad who couldn’t have stood at much more than 5ft 7. The game began and didn’t notice much more than a seemingly quick right footed left winger. It wasn’t until the game had really begun to shape into a contest that the little magician we now love pulled a rabbit out a hat. Receiving a trademark cross field switch form captain Gerrard he brought the ball down gently with a pristine touch before completely bamboozling the Swans fullback. Anfield erupted with cheers as this little man sped down the wing.
Little do we know of the future but the question which begs to be asked is: IS Philippe Coutinho the future of Liverpool Football Club?
Liverpool are studded with stars that boast enormous talent and promise to rock the world with their skill. Amongst others Raheem Sterling, Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho burn bright with a light that is rarely seen in such young players. Many would challenge my bold claim regarding the little Brazilian and my view on his massive prospects for the club. These people would say that surely Raheem Sterling is the man most likely to be the go-to-man for the Merseyside team. Their reasoning cannot be faulted except that it is unlikely that Sterling will be at Liverpool for a long time. While he does have several years on his contract still we all know that even a written agreement means very little in the grand scheme of things. Let’s face it Luis Suarez penned a five-and-a-half year deal and then was off the season after.
Coutinho arrived and immediately claimed fan favourite by displaying some magical performances but it soon became clear that he is not just natural talent. He is a player with immense potential but is prone to glacial dips in form. He will go from playing like his idol Ronaldinho to absolutely shocking in a matter of days. The key for Liverpool boss, Brendan Rodgers will be to figure out how to keep Coutinho’s form consistent. Consistently good at that. Liverpool’s recent switch to 3-4-2-1 has seen Coutinho’s form skyrocket and he has dragged Liverpool forward with his explosive bursts and seemingly magnetic touch. Since the Red’s changed the shape of the team Coutinho’s chance created has gone from 0.42 chances per game to 2.33 per game. This can be attribute to his move in to a central attacking midfield role as opposed to his former restriction to the left wing. Coutinho’s main weakness lies in his supremely erratic shooting. While he has managed to get 50% of his 44 shots this season on target he his conversion rate is a miserly 4.5%. Should Coutinho obtain a deadly finish he will undoubtedly become one of the most feared players in the world.
Liverpool’s reliance on their magical playmaker is underlined by his 18 starts out of 22 and three more appearances from the bench meaning he has only missed one game. While it is not advisable to be overly reliant on one player it is hard not to look to such a capable player such as Coutinho. Liverpool will be desperate to hold onto such stars as Coutinho, Can and Sterling from the thieves that lurk in the dark shadows that darken the transfer market. Liverpool may look to obtain a ridiculous amount of money from the sale of Raheem Sterling in the near not so distant future but will be desperate to keep Coutinho, the magician that he is.