Most of the tension seems to have loosened between Liverpool supporters and Philippe Coutinho. That’s good. That’s what scoring goals will do, for one. The little Brazilian has also been a spark in the team since reintegrating into the side, dictating play and creating havoc just like the old days.
It’s the best outcome we have. Fans move on from the difficult saga and support the player who we’re now comfortable with letting go of next summer to Barcelona while the player steps right back in as Liverpool’s creative engine and helps drive this baby to the top.
How are you feeling?
“I’m calm. It’s all passed by,” said Coutinho. “I’m here to defend the colours, to give my maximum.”
And the beauty of it is that there’s no reason to believe that Coutinho wouldn’t give his maximum for Liverpool this season. With the World Cup kicking off in the summer the unicornian playmaker will be performing in every Liverpool match as though auditioning for a call-up to the Brazil squad.
“I hope to get called up,” Phil said. “With every call-up I want to develop and for us to develop as a team in order to be successful.”
He will do all the things we know he does and probably some new ones. Phil will be expected to take his game up a level this season, to be more consistent, to take fewer low-percentage shots, to be twice as psychically linked to his attacking teammates as before.
Coutinho has scored two goals in the last two games, but so far we’re still seeing him take those low-percentage shots. It’s almost the same low-percentage shot every time. Top of the box, driving sideways from the left, maybe a fake, maybe not. When often times, instead of shooting, an easy pass to a teammate could open up more and different options.
In the match against Spartak Moscow Coutinho linked up excellently with Sadio Mané to gain Liverpool a point with a solid finish inside the box. On from there, the team were frustrated in their attempts at a winner and Phil showed that he’s still not back to his best at taking corners, firing low and easily-cleared balls into the box.
“It wasn’t really the result we wanted,” said Coutinho, “but we have to keep working and there are more games, another four games to come.”
The team is in a wobbly form right now. And the drama of the summer’s big deal that never happened is still a darkness over supporter’s heads. Most of Liverpool’s problems are being viewed through a Virgil van Dijk-less lens. But as we saw in Moscow, Liverpool’s attack can be just as culpable for the team coming up short.
There’s much and more for Jürgen Klopp to do with these players but the utmost priority must be to maintain the confidence and the togetherness of the group, that fighting spirit. A win would certainly go a long way towards easing supporter’s worries over current form but ultimately this is a bad ass team that maybe needs the same thing the fans do. It’s time to shake off the summer and get down on it.