Liverpool’s Brazilian play maker has hit the ground running at the club, producing some superb form and looking like a real bargain for the price the club paid for him from Inter Milan.
However, there are areas he can work on, which will make him a better player over the rest of the season and beyond.
Through his own admission, Coutinho has admitted his English isn’t good enough and that he only has a basic understand of Spanish, as he’s a native Brazilian Portuguese speaker. If he works on this then he’ll be able to relay his messages to the rest of the side much more easily.
Coutinho has also admitted that he is struggling to get used to pace of Premier League football. While he admits the build up play is much like his experience in Italy, the general pace of players is quicker as opposed to when he played in Spain, where the ball is moved quicker.
He’s only a small man so he needs to bulk out and strengthen up. His quality makes him a target because one of the typical English ways to counter a great player, is to bully that player off of the ball physically. If he can avoid being brushed off of the ball, then possibly Liverpool’s most creative player spends longer in possession.
He can work on his role in the Liverpool side, which is kind of half and half between an attacking midfield player and a number ten, who plays in the hole behind a main striker. The recent injury to Daniel Sturridge means he may have been forced to play as a number ten, which isn’t where he’s most effective because he can’t control the midfield.
His defensive play has to improve because if you’re a Liverpool player, you have a responsibility to track back and be an extra obstacle in the defence. Simply creating chances in attack isn’t good enough. Liverpool are still developing under Brendan Rodgers so Coutinho has to work on this side of his game.
Liverpool fans, what would you like to see him improve?
image: © Dean Jones