Thursday, July 19, 2018

How will Liverpool cope without Philippe Coutinho?

Milos Markovic in Editorial, English Premier League 29 Nov 2016

Will Reds cope without their Little Magician? / Image via

Will Reds cope without their Little Magician? / Image via

It is a burning question for all Liverpool fans who are biting their nails and sweating over their team’s chances to keep up in the Premier League title chase knowing that O Magico will not be able to help the team.

So, will Liverpool be able to cope without their key man this season?

That terrible injury…

A heart of every Liverpool fan stopped after thirty-four minutes of grinding fight against the bottom dwellers Sunderland.

Having been challenged by Didier Ndong inside the Black Cats’ area, the Little Magician immediately raised his hand to call for attention of the medical staff.

The Brazilian playmaker was carried off the pitch with a protective splint around his right foot and the things did not appear promising at first for Philippe Coutinho.

Initial reports suggested that the Brazilian superstar would be out for entire six weeks due to an ankle injury, but the man himself has set his sights on the return just in time for Liverpool’s final home game of the year against Manchester City.

Coutinho’s injury will definitely keep him out of the festive fixture list as the Brazilian is poised to miss Premier League matches against Bournemouth, West Ham, Middlesbrough, Everton and ultimately Stoke City, which indeed can be a big problem for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Impact and Influence

Six goals in 14 games for Liverpool this season do not even begin to paint the whole picture of Philippe Coutinho’s impact on Liverpool’s performances.

The Brazilian has been a commanding presence in the middle of the pitch and in the final third, adding flair to Jurgen Klopp’s side, much-needed creativity and vision which he on a number of occasions used to singlehandedly solve a game with moments of brilliance of his own.

Coutinho’s performances brought a special edge to Liverpool’s play, which has so far been most evident in his blistering partnership with countryman Firmino.

The two Brazilians formed a fascinating partnership which has this season been one of the most tantalising spectacles of the England’s top tier.

Coutinho’s absence will leave a huge gap in the centre of the park for Liverpool but Jurgen Klopp has managed to turn Reds into an all-round scoring set-up, with players able to answer to different tasks.

James Milner serves as the perfect example to support the claim and I have no doubts that Klopp will be able to find more than a fitting replacement within his ranks.

Who will fill the gap?

Talking from the completely biased and subjective point of view, I would personally love to see former Red Star starlet Marko Grujic being pushed into the fire.

Unlikely as it is to happen, the Serbian midfielder once labelled the next Steven Gerrard could provide a reasonably sound supporting role.

Given his lack of minutes and action this season it is – of course – unlikely to happen, but the next name in line definitely boasts all the attributes and requirements to serve as a proper replacement for Coutinho.

Georginio Wijnaldum.

The Dutchman has taken his time to settle and after nine Premier League starts with the total of 12 league appearances, but the 26-year-old midfielder has managed to prove himself as a valuable member of the first team.

Usually given a somewhat backed role, the former Newcastle United midfielder could go on to thrive in Coutinho’s position if given an extended run in the playmaker’s shoes.

His first chance to shine in the Premier League could be the trip to Bournemouth on 4 December and here are some numbers to analyse ahead of the match at Dean Court.

Gini the Man

“If you want to use my qualities the best, I must play in the midfield in a position where I can make goals, because that is the major quality of mine. I can make goals and I can create chances”, Wijnaldum was quoted at his introduction to English football.

Gini’s versatility has perhaps somewhat been underrated aspect of his play as he was pushed further to the flanks with Coutinho on board.

Wijnaldum’s impact was nevertheless impressive with the Dutchman creating 17 chances so far and managing two assists with a pass accuracy of impressive 88%.

The Brazilian’s absence could bring out the best in the Dutchman and tonight’s EFL match against Leeds United could perhaps be the time as good as any to try Wijnaldum in a more roaming-free role behind the attack.

The Reds are looking at the betting odds of 8/11 to claim a HT/FT win and continue their 14-match winning streak in all competitions.

They surely can go on with their flying form?


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently and His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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