Sunday’s loss to Manchester United may have been a disappointment, and it may have significantly dented Liverpool’s top four hopes, but Philippe Coutinho is convinced there’s more than enough time left in the season for them to make up the points difference and end the season back in the Champions League places.
"To four is our target," he told the London Evening Standard as he prepares to take part in Thursday’s Brazil friendly against France. "We lost an important game to Manchester United, but there are many matches left and they will still have to play other clubs at the top of the table, so we still have a big chance of finishing in the top four."
Coutinho, like most of Liverpool’s outfield players, has looked a step off the pace in recent weeks. Looking at the second half of the season as a whole, though, few have been in better form than the little Brazilian, and his key role in Liverpool’s revival has put him in contention to start for Brazil on Thursday, a turnaround he gives a lot of credit to Brendan Rodgers for.
"I’m very happy at Liverpool," he said. "I’ve been learning a lot with Brendan Rodgers and from the experienced players in the squad as well. He has always given me confidence since I arrived there. He was helpful from the beginning. He asks the offensive midfielders to help with marking when we haven’t got the ball, and he’s been helping me improve on that in every training session."
France vs. Brazil, the marquee friendly matchup of the March international break, is set to kick off at 8PM GMT/4PM EST on Thursday at the Stade de France, with Coutinho in contention to start for Brazil and Liverpool teammate Mamadou Sakho a lock to start for France.