Every Liverpool fan cannot help but be excited for the 2014-15 campaign, because the absence of Luis Suarez will now put the spotlight on others. For me, Philippe Coutinho is the man that is going to be the main beneficiary of this. Coutinho enjoyed a decent campaign last season, that would have been better had he not got injured in September.
Every Liverpool fan noticed the difference when the Little Magician was not in our side, and even with added depth, this season will be no different. Coutinho created 64 chances for the Reds last season, which is a impressive figure considering Suarez was the focal point of every single Liverpool attack, the Uruguayan created 87 chances playing 600 more minutes than the Brazilian.
Yet it is not Suarez that Coutinho should actually look up to, they play in different positions entirely and that is why Coutinho should look at Mesut Ozil, David Silva and Eden Hazard. In every creative statistic, these three outscored Coutinho, with Ozil and Silva playing for 200 less minutes than Coutinho.
But it is Hazard who Coutinho should be looking at, because if Coutinho plays consistently this year I believe he is on the Belgians level. Last year Hazard created an incredible 92 goal scoring chances for his team, more than Angel Di Maria who was Europe’s top creator. For Coutinho, this is the kind of level we all expect him to rise up to.
After playing out a quite outstanding pre-season, expectations are now higher than ever, and Coutinho seems to be ready for a massive campaign. The 22-year-old seemed to have a real slick touch, and was producing some real moments of magic, namely THAT flick against Dortmund. But perhaps most exciting was the fact Coutinho – who had always had good close control – was often dancing around defenders as if they just weren’t there.
Yes, we all know that it is just pre-season but even his finishing seems to have vastly improved as the warm up games were played out. In fact I would go as far as saying Coutinho has improved every aspect of his game over the past six months.
Yet what has impressed me the most about Coutinho is his pressing, he made 56 tackles last season more than the likes of Oscar, always known for his hard work. This season I expect that to be taken to another level, he has just seemed relentless at times and chased many lost causes at times.
Coutinho who cost Liverpool £8million in 2013 from Inter Milan is once again one of the hot properties in Europe, and the sooner the Reds tie him down, the more I will be able to sleep at night.