Garth Crooks’ Team of the Week is always worth a read, even if it’s for the whacky formations or weird selections.
Today, we’re running our eyes over it for his quotes on Coutinho, who he selected in his side for the weekend just gone.
Our Brazilian scored a world-class goal from 25-yards out, but sadly his team-mates let him down and we struggled to a 1-1 draw.
He’s been easily our best player over the past week and Crooks is worried that we’ll become overly reliant on him.
“What is wrong with Liverpool?” he began.
“The Reds should have smashed Newcastle out of sight, but instead they limp away from St James’ Park with a point. Are they over-reliant on Philippe Coutinho? Since his return to first-team duties, the Brazilian attacking midfielder been absolutely wonderful.
“I’ve been banging on about Liverpool’s defence for 12 months and nothing has been done about it. Jonjo Shelvey drove a ball through Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren with such ease for Newcastle’s equaliser it was frightening. You could have driven a coach and horse through the gap between Liverpool’s defenders, it was so wide.
“Coutinho is at Anfield for now following the transfer saga of the summer. But I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if it were for one more season only, in a similar manner to Luis Suarez, who also eventually departed to Barcelona.
“However, if performances like this continue you will either burn him out or he will become disenchanted. Manager Jurgen Klopp must now fulfil his side of the bargain with Liverpool having held on to Coutinho, and ensure he has a defence worthy of playing with the Brazilian. Otherwise, what is the point of the little magician scoring breathtaking goals, if his team can’t defend a lead when he does? There’s no point keeping him.”
It’s an interesting point Crooks makes…
But Liverpool’s best football this season, against Hoffenheim and Arsenal, came when Coutinho was unavailable, interestingly.
Annoyingly, since his return, our other attackers have seriously dropped their level. Roberto Firmino began the season in scintillating form, but was benched for our latest game after some shoddy form.
Mo Salah always offers himself behind but has weak end product and Sadio Mane is still re-finding his feet after his domestic suspension.
Hopefully, pretty soon all four will click – as our leaky defence won’t actually mater if we consistently finish the chances we’re creating.
In our past six games, we’ve had 122 shots and scored just seven goals.