[dropcap]F[/dropcap]or Liverpool FC, the start to the new season, has been nothing short of a revelation. Ten points from a possible twelve has propelled them to the top of the table. This has been a stepping stone in their quest to achieve a top four finish that has been so elusive during the last few years.
Coutinho injured for Liverpool FC
However, this journey to the top four has been dealt a major blow after the injury of their key man, Philippe Coutinho.
On Monday night, against Swansea, he sustained a shoulder injury after a dangerous tackle from defender Ashley Williams made him land awkwardly on his shoulder.
At this point in time last season, Liverpool were struggling for that little bit of creativity that could decide matches. They dominated games with possession but lacked that decisiveness in the final third. Fans cried for a proper number 10.
However, in January they conducted some good business and bought Coutinho, described by Brendan Rodgers as a “wonderful technician of the ball”. This wasn’t a gimmick.
In a few matches, his talents were on display for everyone to see. His playmaking abilities were never in question as he made the chances for forwards, threading the ball through the tightest of spaces. He could beat players at ease and also weighed in with a few goals himself.
From possession football without purpose, Coutinho helped in transforming the Reds to an attacking threat with his decisive passing. Everyone had tipped this season to be his breakthrough year after being among the best talents of the second half of last season.
His presence usually means fluidity and fluency of play in the final third. This is illustrated by the fact that before his injury, 48 passes were completed in the final third. This drastically dropped to 4 after he left the field due to injury.
His worth to Liverpool cannot be described by statistics alone but that six week absence will surely affect the club one way or the other. Reds fans will be hoping whoever occupies his role will do a worthy job; that the magic continues, even in the absence of the magician.