The Brazilian youngster rightfully received widespread praise for another sparkling performance at the weekend as the Reds downed fellow top four rivals Manchester City 2-1 at Anfield.
It has been some year so far for Coutinho, but it’s easy to forget that the 22-year-old struggled at the beginning of the campaign and for the most part looked largely out of sorts.
Rodgers, however, has revealed to reporters that his playmaker was hindered by the team’s rigid style throughout the autumn and his improvement has coincided with the team’s change in ethos.
“I think that period the team suffered at the start of the season, with our lack of penetration at the top of the field — he is the player that thrives on that,” Rodgers was quoted as saying by The Sun.
“He is normally the player that makes the last pass for those players running in to score the goals.
“We didn’t quite have that in the opening months. He had to stay longer on the ball and wasn’t as effective, but now the dynamics in the team are very good, with the pressing and the movement off the ball.
“That allows him and his technical quality to really shine and he is starting to add goals to his game, and scoring some fantastic goals.
“Very importantly, he is contributing to the team and there are still improvements to make from someone so young.”
|Goals per Game||Shots per Game||Key Passes per Game||Take-ons per Game||Touches per Game||Accurate Passes per Game||Ball Recoveries per Game||Appearances|
|Philippe Coutinho Aug 01- Dec 31||0.13||2.31||0.88||2.75||58||31.38||4.31||16|
|Philippe Coutinho Jan 01 - Mar 01||0.25||2.5||2.13||2.5||65||33.25||6.88||8|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, Coutinho’s improvement since the turn of the year has been evident in all but one of our chosen attacking categories.
Over the past two months, the former Inter Milan star has scored more goals, taken more shots and created more chances via key passes on average per match than at the beginning of the campaign.
Aside from his attacking qualities, the Merseysiders’ surge up the table and newfound confidence has brushed off with Coutinho taking more touches and playing more passes on average per encounter.
One area which highlights the team’s improvement, however, is Coutinho’s pressure in the final third – illustrated by his average 6.88 ball recoveries in contrast to his previous 4.31 average.
It has been quite a turn of events for the Anfield outfit and their South American star, and similar performances of this ilk will certainly make the fight for a top-four spot all the more intriguing.