Liverpool season preview: Philippe Coutinho’s magic is vital

coutinho

Philippe Coutinho

Last Season
7th. A mixed season. A little too much drama from Luis Suarez as per usual but the solid football that is expected from Liverpool. No trophies and no trips to Wembley. A disappointing Europa League run, being knocked out in the round of 32. In fact, they were the worst of all four English teams. The January arrival of Philippe Coutinho was a real bright spot though.

Off-season report
There is no surprise that the main news revolves around Luis Suarez. Will he stay? Probably not. Does it matter if he leaves? Controversially, no!

Ignoring the drama both on and off the pitch, Suarez is a world class footballer and undoubtedly both the club and the fans will miss him as he is a guaranteed goal-scorer.

However, two new Spanish strikers come to the club in the form of Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto, both of whom will strive to be scoring goals. A change of goalkeeper for Liverpool, who are now in the new, but very capable, hands of Simon Mignolet.

Season objectives
This season sees Liverpool facing a new chapter; they will be looking to get back into the elite clubs of Europe this season and will also be after a cup. Although pre-season cannot be read into too much, Liverpool have excelled and won all of their friendlies very comfortably.

Manager
Brendan Rodgers is going into his second season as Liverpool manager and will be looking to improve on last season. His managerial style is all about possession of the ball, with a particular focus in the middle third of the pitch.

Strengths
The combination of Daniel Sturridge and Coutinho has potential to be one of the youngest, yet best, partnerships in the league this season. Steven Gerrard has recovered from his shoulder operation and will be back to take charge of his team. The replacement of Jamie Carragher with Kolo Toure is a sensible move and keeps the defence looking decent. Liverpool have a large squad full of versatile players which provides depth to each position.

Weaknesses
There is a real lack of consistency with Liverpool. One week of great play and a great result is followed by poor play and a poor result, leaving them in a lower than expected position. The loss of Suarez goes further than just his ability to score goals but no doubt, Liverpool will bounce back from his loss if he does go.

Although Liverpool are great passers, they can lack that little extra trickery and pace at the moment to really challenge with the top four if Coutinho is kept quiet.

Key Player
Philippe Coutinho. At only 21, he is still extremely young but big things are already expected from him and rightly so, as he has all the attributes of being a superstar. He creates goals, scores goals and is a pleasure to watch, regardless of what team you support. The 6-0 annihilation of Newcastle saw him pulling all the strings.

It’s a big season for
Jordan Henderson. Looking back a couple of years, Henderson was tipped to be one of the most successful English players. However, his career took a turn for the worse as he struggled to adapt at Liverpool.

He had a decent latter half of last season and proved that he deserved to be wearing his red shirt and he will be hoping to work on this success and further prove himself to the footballing world.

Emerging star
There is a wealth of young talent at Liverpool and a number of young players that have the potential to make the big break but Jordon Ibe is a player that has filled many with excitement. Setting up the goal for Coutinho in the last match of last season and scoring his debut goal for the club in a friendly against Preston, it is looking likely that the PL will be seeing more of this speedy winger.

Prediction
Top Six.

It is no secret that Liverpool want to win more cups and Gerrard has made this clear: “My focus now is to try and win a couple of trophies before I hang my boots up and try to get this club back in the Champions League.”

Overall, there is a real hunger and determination amongst the players to succeed and they will be pushing themselves harder than ever. The willingness of Rodgers to give young players a chance really bodes well for the future of the club.

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