Player Profile - Philippe Coutinho

Coutinho Thriving Under Klopp At the Kop

Personal information
Full name: Philippe Coutinho Correia
Date of birth: 12 June 1992 
Age: 23
Place of birth:  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Height: 1.71 m (5 ft 7 1⁄2 in) 
Playing position: Attacking midfielder 

Club information
Current team: Liverpool
Number: 10

Youth career
1999–2008: Vasco da Gama

Senior career
2008–2009: Vasco da Gama 43 Appearances, 5 goals
2009–2013: Inter Milan 47 Appearances, 5 goals 
2011: Espanyol (loan) 16 Appearances, 5 goals
2013– Liverpool 117 Appearances, 20 goals 

National team
2009: Brazil U17 5 Appearances, 3 goals 
2011–2012: Brazil U20 7 Appearances, 3 goals 
2010– Brazil 12 Appearances, 1 goal

To the surprise, and irritation, of many, Philippe Coutinho was named in the PFA's Premier League Team of the Year for the 2014/15 season—recognising his strong run of form towards the end of a campaign that saw Liverpool finish sixth in the Premier League. 

Coutinho began the new season as he left off, of course. But, predictably, former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers became overly reliant on the playmaker, who was ostensibly tasked with serving as the Reds’ chief creative talent, a defence-stretching wide man and a second striker. Klopp is slowly restoring belief to a flagging Liverpool outfit, and Coutinho is just one of many players to have suffered a crisis of confidence in 2015/16—with his recognition at the end of the previous campaign magnifying his poor form. Under Klopp, Coutinho will be required to run harder, press higher and tackle with more ferocity, but he will also be given more freedom to express himself. It is this that will prove crucial as he looks to address his stuttered start. 

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Coutinho and Klopp might just be a match made in heaven. When Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool fans at Anfield immediately began to dream of what German attackers would be purchased to come in and revolutionize their squad. As usual with such things, their attacking star may have been right under their noses the entire time in the form of the skillful Brazilian midfielder. Coutinho has been on fire of late under his new German manager. He has three goals in his last two matches and has been named Man of the Match in both. In the five matches under Klopp’s leadership he’s turned in five performances to be proud of. He’s looked dangerous both as a scorer and creator while pitching in with an admirable work-rate. What he’s been, is the ideal player for Klopp to build around at Liverpool. It’s not as if Coutinho has never showed good form for the club before. That wouldn’t be a fair characterization of his play under Rodgers. He’s always been a tantalizing talent who has shown flashes of brilliance. The key thing missing from his game has been consistency. The high level performances have always been world-class. The issue has been his poor play when he’s not having his best day on the pitch. This is where Klopp’s management techniques will help Coutinho the most. Under Rodgers, there was so much talk about discipline and regimen that a special talent like Coutinho could feel somewhat inhibited. Under Klopp, he’s been given the offensive freedom that he craves and high level production has followed. What’s more important though, is that Klopp has inspired Coutinho to compete on both ends of the pitch. By instituting his pressing system, Klopp doesn’t give Coutinho as much room to have an off performance. He’s able to get supreme effort from Coutinho and when you combine that with his talent, you can’t help but receive good performances. 

Klopp has already shown the ability to raise Coutinho’s average performances while also increasing the frequency of his excellent showings. The scary thing about this for the rest of the Premier League is that by Coutinho’s own admission, the club is still coming to grips with Klopp’s tactics and management techniques. He’s managed to raise Coutinho’s game considerably in just five matches with relatively little practice time. He could turn Coutinho into an absolute monster with some added time for training and adjustment. That doesn’t say anything about how Coutinho could benefit from more of Klopp’s style of players coming into the side. Most Liverpool fans agree that Klopp can’t revolutionize the team with its current side of players so it’s a safe bet that January will see some real player movement. Only then, as those new players come together with Coutinho and coalesce into a unit that embodies Klopp’s ideals will we see his maximum ability.

Liverpool fans should stop worrying about what attacker they can purchase to be Klopp’s star vehicle. That player is already at the club. They simply need to practice patience to watch Coutinho blossom into one of the brightest stars in the EPL.