The hard work gets done down out at Melwood every day. Jürgen Klopp and his coaching staff have a method of training, an approach to success, a map to preparedness that becomes routine for the players. It’s on those West Derby pitches that passing and movement are prioritized, conditioning the Liverpool players to the zippy nature of Klopp’s footballing strategy.
The results of that commitment to quickness are plain to see. Klopp’s team is sharp and finds success by seeking to overwhelm the opposition with speed and relentlessness. Everyone’s favorite Brazilian, Philippe Coutinho, is a near-perfect player in this system. He already naturally plays the game with a sharpness and a head for attack, but the little unicorn has benefited from the diligence in his manager’s techniques.
“We work really hard on our passing game,” Coutinho said, “because our manager really likes this type of playing style.
“Something we practice a lot is playing three short passes on one side of the pitch and then switching the play with a longer pass. We often repeat that routine.
“One of reasons we do this is so the forwards can try to escape their markers and open up spaces on the pitch very quickly.”
Coutinho attributes the strength of Liverpool’s attack to the fervor with which the team trains every day. Always moving, twisting, running, receiving. There’s a delicate balance at play between maintaining order and being impulsive.
“I think this comes from the intensity at which we train,” he said, “but also the work we do with our physical trainer.
“We do a lot of work on agility which mean we become used to making spontaneous movements.”
“I always try to be quick in possession, whether that’s running with the ball, playing a quick pass or trying a trick.
“I often use my body to hide the ball and this is one of the things that I enjoy doing the most when I’m playing. I really like to dribble and that’s my role in the team. I try to find spaces for my teammates.”
He does a bang up job of that, too. Coutinho was the most exciting player to watch in the Premier League before his injury in November, garnering much praise from the talking heads and finally being recognized by and playing an important role for his national team.
With hopes that he’s back to full fitness, the 24-year-old will now be targeting a return to the form he was in to start the season. And after getting a valuable start against Plymouth, Coutinho will now look to the match against Swansea City this weekend as an opportunity to blow our minds. Magic, Philippe. We need the magic, baby.