As huge fans of how Jurgen Klopp sets Liverpool out tactically, we find these comments from talisman Coutinho mighty interesting.
The Brazilian is currently injured and expected out until the New Year, but before his cruel ankle ligament injury picked up against Sunderland, he’d arguably been the Premier League’s star performer.
He’s thrived in Klopp’s free-flowing system, which allows him to cut in from the left and take up pockets of space where he thinks he can be most effective. Coutinho has five Premier League goals and assists each to his name this term, because of his ability to adapt to the German’s demands – which in turn maximise his creativity.
This drill Coutinho explains mirrors much of what we see on the field when Liverpool are at our flowing best.
“We work really hard on our passing game, because our manager likes this type of playing style,” Coutinho told FourFourTwo, cited in ESPN.
“Something we practise a lot is playing three short passes and then switching the play with a longer pass. We often repeat that routine.
“One of the reasons we do this is so that the forwards can try to escape their markers and then open up spaces on the pitch very quickly.”
Time and time again Liverpool pop a ball around centrally before feeding an onrushing Sadio Mane into a channel, or perhaps even a bombarding James Milner. Mane’s goal against Leicester is the best example of this we can think of, when Jordan Henderson goes long after some intricate play, and Daniel Sturridge feeds the Senegalese to bag.
For Coutinho, he thinks his personal success has been down to the work Klopp’s done with him on the training field and the self-belief this instils.
“Confidence is a huge factor out on the pitch,” he added. “I think it comes through repeated quality training, which gives you belief in your ability as well as the confidence to transfer your work from the training ground onto the pitch.
“If we get only two or three chances in 90 minutes, you need to be confident that you will make the right decision in the final third and then put the ball in the back of the net.
I don’t think there is a secret — you just have to practise making these decisions a lot.
“Attacking midfielders need to play with happiness. By that I mean dribbling at pace and making things happen. If you repeat that every day, then you will tap into the perfect mental state to be creative.”