Philippe Coutinho helps keep Liverpool on track
Dude, how good is Philippe Coutinho?
We were left wondering that Sunday morning after Coutinho stuck it to Manchester City for the second consecutive, striking the winning goal in Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat of City. He also set up Jordan Henderson’s opening goal, one that was almost as pretty is Coutinho’s game winner. (And the fact that both goals came at the expense of defender Vincent Kompany should offer fans of the U.S. Men’s team a measure of satisfaction.)
In case you missed Coutinho’s goal in his last seven matches, we’ve got you covered.
“(Philippe) is a very selfless player and a very humble young guy who would rather create for others,” manager Brendan Rodgers told The Guardian. We are encouraging him to shoot more often. He has a wonderful body movement around the box, he doesn’t need many touches to shift it and shoot, as you saw with the phenomenal shot to beat Joe Hart at that angle. His technique is at a high level so he is going to score more goals. He is now arriving into the right areas more often. He is starting to get success and that encourages him to shoot more.”
“He has a beautiful arrogance on the ball, his touch is magical but he’s effective and efficient with it. Playing here at Liverpool, with the dynamics of how we want to work, is perfect for him.” – Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers on Philippe Coutinho
The win keeps Liverpool as the sole unbeaten team in the Premier League since the calendar turned to 2015, and helped the club continue its run up the table. The Reds have now gone 11 matches since their last loss and now sit just two points behind Manchester United for the final Champions League spot.
“The main thing to do would be to concentrate on ourselves as much as we can, keep the momentum going and see where it takes us really,” Henderson told The Daily Mail. “We have just got to aim to win every game. I think we have got the ability to do that. We have got a good enough squad but we just have to make sure that we don’t get too carried away with the result. But it is a big result and it gives us a lot of confidence. We are going to give it a real go.”
Liverpool finds itself in a position that was hard to envision back in late November, when a loss to Crystal Palace dropped Liverpool to 12th place in the table. But since that ugly day, the team has responded and, while they don’t have a chance of catching Chelsea for the league title, the run-up to the end of the season should be just as exciting as last year.
“The Crystal Palace defeat was a defining moment in our season,” Rodgers told talkSPORT today. “Palace were excellent on the day. I needed to come away from that and really look at the team. We were certainly nowhere near the level we’d been in the last 18 months. That was a turning point.”
The only downside to the weekend is the news that Jordon Ibe will miss the next month with a knee injury he picked up in the match against Besiktas.
While the news on Ibe is disappointing, it can be offset by the fact that Daniel Sturridge is getting close to returning full-time to the lineup.
“Come the end of this week Daniel will be on a great run and able to play every game and to train,” Rodgers told The Daily Mail. “He felt good against City on the back of playing Thursday, he’s very determined to play and when you see a fully fit Daniel, he will be brilliant.”
(Photo courtesy of The Daily Mail)
Without a doubt the best player of 2015 so far.