Time for Liverpool's £8.5m Brazilian playmaker to show his class

Philippe Coutinho can be a title winner for the Reds.

The 22-year-old has already showcased his talent on a number of big stages, with very few disputing his ability to decide a game with his vision and passing.

The exit of a certain Luis Suarez this summer, however, has no doubt increased the responsibility on Coutinho's shoulders.

Liverpool have signed several creative talents, including Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic, but it is the Brazilian that Brendan Rodgers will likely look to to dictate play in encounters of importance.

"He's certainly a valuable player and a great asset to the club. He's come in here and shown his quality and really developed as a young player," the Reds boss said recently.

"Now he's moving into the best years of his life as a footballer."

Steven Gerrard Liverpool MF 13 13 34 2,900
Luis Suarez Liverpool FW 12 31 33 2,964
Philippe Coutinho Liverpool MF 7 5 33 2,334
Jordan Henderson Liverpool MF 7 4 35 3,128
Daniel Sturridge Liverpool FW 7 21 29 2,275
Raheem Sterling Liverpool FW 5 9 33 2,218

As Opta stats show, Coutinho registered the third-highest total of Premier League assists at Liverpool last season, also scoring five goals. But will that be enough this term, without the goals and assists of Suarez?

Certainly, the likes of Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge will look to increase their respective tallies, while Markovic, Lallana, Emre Can, Rickie Lambert and more will share chances and goals between them, too.

Coutinho, though, can use this season as one in which he truly makes his mark. Indeed, Liverpool's pre-season friendlies showed just what weapons the Brazilian has at his disposal.

His assist for Suso's goal against AC Milan demonstrated his vision and passing ability once again, while his skills and through balls against Manchester United were some of the best you will see in competitive games, let alone friendlies.

As such, the 22-year-old can make an enormous difference this term and turn seven assists into double figures, perhaps matching or even beating Steven Gerrard.

Despite his talent, Coutinho's biggest problem has always been his consistency. With his ability to change games with his passing, he has gone for killer passes all too often, sometimes proving extremely wasteful - the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea at Anfield a huge example of this.

Once the Brazilian addresses that, he can become a title winner for Liverpool, both at home and in Europe.

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