After scouting the Danish international extensively Brendan Rodgers opted not to sign the player believing him unsuitable for his system
Eriksen has made an impressive start to his Tottenham career, scoring a tremendous goal in the Europa League last night, which has sparked debate and even anger amongst Liverpool fans that the club missed out on the player.
Yet what many fail to realise is that had Eriksen been signed it would have more than likely spelt bad news for Coutinho’s development. Forget the Brazilian's injury in the shot term, we are looking bigger picture here.
The 21-year-old has 39 international caps and 30 appearances in Europe to his name so it is highly unlikely that he would have come to play second fiddle to the Brazilian.
Both players relish playing in the hole and therefore if the two were somehow played together Eriksen’s reputation and fee would demand that he starts there.
That would probably see Coutinho shunted out to the left and thus marginalise his rapidly growing influence on games.
It was informative to hear Rodgers say yesterday in his preview of the weekend game against Southampton that ‘Coutinho is one of the best number 10s in the league.’
This should not be taken lightly as it underlines just how crucial the player is to Rodgers, especially in the context of fans’ calls for Eriksen.
The two cannot, contrary to popular belief, perform at their optimum if in constant rotation with each other since we are forever told that players thrive on confidence, which in itself is gained from being picked regularly.
One of the problems Liverpool’s scouting system had with Eriksen was his lack of physicality, yet Coutinho is hardly a dominating presence. One could even argue that the Dane is stronger.
But that is not the key issue. What is, however, is the fact that the Vasco De Game youth product has developed a great understanding with Sturridge, supplying many of his goals, so the addition of Eriksen would have been disruptive.
In other words it would take time for the striker to form a new on field relationship with Eriksen and this could perhaps damage Sturridge’s great run of form.
It might just also be that Rodgers believes Coutinho is the more talented player whose unlimited potential will eventually see him overtake Eriksen as a forward with greater influence and creativity.
Finally there should be some recognition at least that Eriksen has only just begun his Spurs career so we should not be too quick to pass judgement, either way, on the player. Remember Premier League opposition have yet to properly suss him out as they have with Coutinho, whose own form to fair had been suffering lately.
image: © martini_dk