Over the past several seasons, there have been times when it would have been inconceivable that a healthy Philippe Coutinho would be starting on the bench. The reason, nominally, why Coutinho started the game as a spectator was because of his extensive international travels. However, the attacking performance in his absence only highlighted how many weapons Klopp now has at his disposal.
This fact was not lost on the 24-year-old attacking midfielder, who was quick to praise his teammates after the rousing 4-1 win over the defending champs.
“The manager has a lot of options to choose from,” Coutinho said in an interview with the club’s official website. “Everyone’s been working hard in training, so for sure, it’s good for the manager to have options to choose from, and it’s good for Liverpool.”
Indeed. Going into another big, early season showdown in London, Klopp has some difficult decisions to make. Does he stick with the fluid and effective front three of Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge, and Sadio Mané that was so deadly against Leicester? Does Divock Origi get the nod over Sturridge? Does Coutinho come in for one of the two strikers, instead choosing to deploy Firmino as a false nine? These are questions that even the most enlightened supporters would struggle to answer, and ones that will certainly keep the new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte on his toes.
Coutinho certainly would have liked to have added his name to the score sheet on a day when the goals were plentiful, but he was still quick to praise his teammates for the fantastic attacking performance.
“It was an excellent game, an excellent performance by the team. Everyone played very well, we did what the manager asked us to do. Everyone was very committed from the outset and we got a great result against a great team.
“It was a great game, attacking we were virtually perfect, so it was a great game that gives us confidence.”
Hopefully Liverpool can use that confidence to come away with a positive result at Stamford Bridge, regardless of the attacking personnel and formation. If so, Liverpool will have come through the most difficult stretch of their season in a very good position to fight for a coveted Champions League spot.