- Coutinho hasn’t actually been missed this season, claims Adam Ward
- Results suggest we’re a better team without him
- Thanks for the guest piece: @a_ward_89
- SEE MORE: ‘At the moment I am happy’ – Coutinho quotes suggest potential u-turn
Following a summer of unrest and with another transfer window looming, many Reds may be furrowing their brows in a vain attempt to understand the situation with Philippe Coutinho; or at least where his head is at. With Barcelona and PSG monitoring the situation very closely, will he stay or will he go and more importantly: do fans care either way?
The question I ponder is this: are we a better team without Coutinho? Some may say this is madness. He is a player who has consistently improved season on season, a player who in terms of age has not hit his prime yet. A player who is a regular in the Brazil national team, something which previous Brazilian Reds have not consistently been. A player twice voted Liverpool player of the season and Samba d’Or winner, but football is a team sport. Yes, Coutinho can do magical stuff, but we must consider what the best thing for this team is. Following Barcelona’s three unsuccessful bids, has Coutinho’s head been turned to the extent where he no longer has the drive and desire to perform in red?
Some of the games Coutinho has featured in this season:
Tottenham 4 Liverpool 1
Liverpool 0 Man United 0
Newcastle 1 Liverpool 1
Spartak Moscow 1 Liverpool 1
Liverpool 1 Burnley 1
These results cannot be blamed entirely on Philippe Coutinho, of course. A lack of fluidity, poor finishing and poor defending would have much more to say about that. In fact it was down to his goals that we came away from Moscow and Newcastle with a point. Coutinho has the power and skill to dazzle and do the things that make us look in wonder and remember why we love the game. He also has the potential to frustrate beyond belief. Has he been playing more selfishly this season to show the Barcelonas of this world he is worthy? Is Coutinho the type of player to grab a game by the scruff of the neck and get us over the line? At present, those results would say he isn’t – so what effect does it have on his teammates? He so often cuts a frustrated figure and that alone can affect those around you. Knowing he so clearly wanted to leave in the summer, could there be a lack of faith and trust in him from his teammates if not consciously, perhaps subconsciously?
Now consider some of the games the Brazilian has missed:
Liverpool 4 Hoffenheim 2
Liverpool 4 Arsenal 0
Liverpool 3 Huddersfield 0
West Ham 1 Liverpool 4
Liverpool 3 Maribor 0
Bar Maribor away (7-0 win) every other high scoring game we have had this season has been without Coutinho. You never want to lose one of your best players, but at the same time, you cannot keep someone who does not want to be here. Next summer if another bid of £100m+ comes in, which I am sure it will, I would be inclined to take it. Sadly, it could be time for the magician to disappear.