Philippe Coutinho receives the ball, drives down the left, cuts inside at the edge of the 18-yard box and fires off a shot with his right foot. The next moment either reveals the Liverpool player’s magic with a perfect strike that goes soaring passed the goalkeeper or, as happens more often, reveals a frustrating propensity for scuffed shots that go soaring into the stands.
Make no mistake, the little Brazilian has a rocket engine of a right foot. The power Coutinho generates in his shots is impressive. And when he connects cleanly with the ball, there’s a beauty in it. But, the player knows he has work to do on his finishing if he’s going to be a consistent contributor in this team.
“I’ve always maintained that scoring goals is something I have to improve,” said the unicorn. “I’m always trying to get better and I’ve been working hard on it, of course. I’m the kind of player who’s always looking to improve.
“So, if I can score more goals this season, excellent, but the most important thing is to help the team and do what the manager asks me to do.”
It remains to be seen whether Coutinho will be included in the starting eleven versus Chelsea. Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Adam Lallana were all marvelous in the forward positions in the last match against Leicester City (I saw you marvel). So, it’s difficult to predict who he might replace up top.
But, I’m sure it’s not lost on Klopp that his Brazilian maestro has prior triumphs at Stamford Bridge. Coutinho put two passed the Chelsea defense last season in Liverpool’s 3-1 victory and maybe another trip to London is just what this unicorn needs to reignite the magic.
“The last game there was good for us, we played well. It was the manager’s first game against Chelea and we did everything he asked us to do.
“We played well, we pressured them well and I was very happy to score two goals, so I hope on Friday we play well again and win the match.