Players know when they aren't playing at their best; when they aren't meeting expectations. They know when their form has slumped and nothing is quite coming off. Certainly the good ones do, and it's that knowledge—and the drive to overcome their poor form rather than any grumbling from the stands—that pushes them on.
"For me, it was great," said Philippe Coutinho, reflecting on his brace against Chelsea, one he hopes will mark the turning point in a rather difficult start to the season. "I wasn't playing so well and hadn't scored in a while, so I was glad to score again and help the team. Sometimes when you play things don't always go well, but I always work hard."
Coutinho, along with much of the rest of the first team, seemed mired to start the season, but while some players found themselves instantly reinvigorated by the hiring of new manager Jürgen Klopp, the Brazilian continued to struggle. If anything, at times he appeared to be trying too hard. Nothing good was coming off and he began to push for the spectacular.
When that didn't come off, either, he seemed increasingly frustrated. There was talk he might be in line for a shock spell on the bench. The new manager, though, knew better, and trusted that he needed minutes to play his way back into form. Against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, deep into stoppage time in the first half, everything clicked.
"I've been working quite hard on all aspects of my game," he added. "As I said, I haven't been playing well, it wasn't a good phase for me, but I always concentrate on working hard. As for my left foot, I've been working on it in training and it came off—thank god! We know the work is just beginning and we have to keep it up, but I think we're on the right track."
With an important league match against Crystal Palace on the weekend, many expect Coutinho will be rested for Thursday night's Europa League tie away to Rubin Kazan. With the international break coming up, though, Jürgen Klopp could choose to play a number of first teamers not set to play for their countries in both games.