Well, thinking about Wesley, although his last couple of seasons has been far from the poignant passing and sure-scoring set pieces that he showed during the 2010 worldcup, his injury in 2011 was a major setback. Inter moved on without it‘s golden midfielder, they converted to a two-striker formation and had to change it in the middle of the game when Wesley came from the bench. Now that their play has changed a lot, it was time for him to go to a club where he will get more playing time trying to re-capture the player who won the Champions league with Inter.
Liverpool also is going through a metamorphosis. After a fallout from the Champions League winner manager Rafa Benitez who played 4-2-3-1 formation with attack from mid-field fuelled by Gerrard, and string of sublime completions from Torres, the club has gone through the hands of two more managers to the current one who look
s like he is on to something. Brendan Rodgers managed the rise of Swansea city to Premier League status, implemented frequent passing, start from the back, press high methodology that was vindicated to being world beaters by Barcelona F C. When he stated his idea to the new club, not many LFC fans were overjoyed. They know the tactic won’t work if the club does not have world class players-the passes won’t complete, the pressing will waste the forwards’ energy and it could potentially open holes in defense.
Liverpool signed on Sahin from Real Madrid and it seemed to say something, just that the fans did not know what it was. Where would Sahin feature, now that Gerrard is back in business after a tough year on the sidelines due to injury? Sahin and Gerrard were very similar, both attacked plainly from the midfield, both liked long passes and both fed counter-attacks. Rodgers tried using Sahin in a non-explosive but attacking mid-fielder role with Gerrard in the defensive side, but expected to do his signature long passes. Sahin did not sit well with the club. He was let go.
The last eight games in premier league has seen the Reds win five and lose 3 with no draws, which is far from the way they started the campaign in the first five fixtures, bringing in two draws and a three loses to West Brom, Arsenal and their bitter rivals Manchester United. Their football seem to be coordinated, unlike their first victory at the end of September over Norwich which were due to the opponents’ mistakes. Henderson is picking up form, and although no one questioned his work ethic it is recent that his efforts started bringing in results.
With Joe Allen getting tired of too much time on the field, Lucas Leiva-the senior in the current squad has provided replacement in that position. Although he is not in the same form he was before injury, mistakes are minimal and he is solid in defending. With Sturridge’s addition to the team during the mid-season transfer window, the team owners seem to understand its manager’s vision. Play starts from the back with intense pressing and most of the players seem to know their part well. Although it is far from world beaters, it’s also far from the confused club it was the last two years. Suarez has been instrumental in bringing the club to forefront, a non-selfish, world class genius in him has saved the club single handed from misery a la Aston Villa is facing currently.
In this context, where will Coutinho feature? He is raw, 20 year old untapped talent from the land that produces babies that play soccer the minute they are born, he is far from someone who can bring in instant results like Van Persie or the Reds own Sturridge. His through-balls are sometimes Xavi/Iniesta like, but his nimble limbs make him easy to steal from by bigger and stronger defenders. His recent bouts of injury do not do him any favor.
In the current scheme of things, he could feature either in the left flank with Suarez overlaying with the striker, as Philippe has some experience with that. He could also play alongside/replace Henderson, and adding to the depth of the squad will certainly help the reds. But with no Champions League and being out of League cup, it is not going to guarantee him more playing time as Henderson is of late becoming a regular. Will he replace Gerrard in a much deeper role? Certainly not. All that could be done is to play double attacking midfielders with Philippe being one of them, sacrificing width, but that does not resonate well with BR’s pressing from the deep philosophy.
Liverpool will be better of focusing it’s energies in getting a better partner to Daniel Agger in the center back as Martin Skrtel has been off his game for a while now. It could also do a bit with more attacking wider midfielder, someone who can cut inside, like Arjen Robben. Who? There aren’t many talented wide players like him in the world and none in the market that the Reds can afford. Another choice would be an out and out defensive midfielder, someone like Xabi Alonso but who is faster, one who could take pressure off of Gerrard and allow the midfield-master to feed the current energetic forwards.
Let us hope Liverpool bolsters the squad and with BR’s philosophy converting it’s skeptics into believers, hope the club goes back to it’s glory days of long gone past.