Despite the promising start and the signals of a very bright future, Philippe Coutinho still isn’t the savior of Liverpool football club, the one who’ll take them out of these relatively dark days which mean no European competition and watch rivals they once viewed as equals leave them out of the way as they fight for the more significant things in the Premier League and football in general.
Coutinho has had a remarkable start in his first 10 matches with the club, scoring two league goals and adding four assists after being picked up for £8.5 million from Inter. Some were quite cautious of praising the signing, as Coutinho failed to make a mark during his time at Inter, but it’s easy to forget that the Brazilian who feels quite comfortable playing on the left wing before pushing into the middle is still only 20, and is obviously in for some ups and downs.
Brendan Rodgers likes what he sees from the youngster, but knows it’s a process – We build up players in the country and put them on a pedestal and then quickly nail them down. He’s had an outstanding performance and people can see why we brought him in. He’s 20 years of age and fits the culture of what we’re trying to do here. He’s technically strong and he’s a very humble boy.
He works hard, you can see the effort in his game, the pressure, the intensity, so he fits in really well, but there’s a long way to go. If you look at the stats you’ll see I haven’t eased him in gently. He’s played nearly every game.
One stat that is interesting to share regarding Coutinho is him being involved in only one loss since becoming a starter for Liverpool, the 3-1 defeat against Southampton. He did come on in the 77th minute to make his debut in a 2-0 loss against West Brom, but 13 minutes of cameo football don’t really count.
Coutinho will have his downs, no one is doubting that. While he’s showing the kind of vision and passing skills rarely seen in the Premier League, Liverpool would like to see him pose more of a threat at goal and taking more than just one or two digs at the target each match. But it takes time getting accustomed to everything, just like Rodgers needed time before Liverpool started clicking.
The 6-0 win over Newcastle was important to show there’s more than Luis Suarez to this team, and even Steven Gerrard, not completing 90 minutes for the first time this season, has someone who can potentially take over for him (Jordan Henderson). Philippe Coutinho is a part of what seems like a successful January crop for the club, although it won’t be enough to make up for their terrible start. Maybe next season, the Brazilian can show over a much longer spell that he really is one of the pillars as starved-for success franchise can build on.