It was only two years ago when Liverpool were just four games away from the Premier League title and were being talked about as a group of players that could have returned the Anfield club to the glory days of the 1980s. Instead, the Reds have not won a major trophy since 2012, and again look likely to miss out on Champions League football this season. Philippe Coutinho is often cited as the man who can return Liverpool to the top, but he might not be quite as good as they think.
In the summer, Liverpool spent big on the likes of Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke, who were supposedly meant to link up with Coutinho to take them back into the Champions League. This plan hasn’t quite worked out, and after a disappointing campaign that has also seen Brendan Rodgers sacked as manager, the Merseyside club sit ninth, seven points short of the top four.
It has again though been a season where Coutinho has failed to live up to his billing. It is clear that he does have the talent to produce moments of quality, but another season has passed where he has failed to do it on a consistent basis at Anfield.
He has scored just five goals and provided just five assists, and with players of the calibre of his fellow Brazilian Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana around him, these numbers should really be higher. To go with that, half of his goals have come in defeats, meaning his contributions have rarely bought about success.
Last season, Coutinho scored just five goals, and although more of them came at important times, they came nowhere near often enough. For a player of the talent that he clearly possesses, he should be looking to score and assist at least ten goals a season, if not 15.
Rumours linking Liverpool with a move for Bayern Munich’s Mario Gotze may show Jurgen Klopp’s uncertainty about playing Coutinho. If the German were to make the move to Anfield, it is very unlikely that Coutinho would start in a team with both him and Firmino.
Coutinho has showed in the past that he does possess the talent to produce moments of real quality, but he can’t be seen as a top class player until he does this on a much more consistent basis for Liverpool.