Philippe Coutinho
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 30: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leicester City at Anfield on December 30, 2017 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Liverpool fans were left devastated when Philippe Coutinho forced his way out of the club. Everybody around the club felt it was impossible to replace their star man in January and the club would struggle without their ‘Little Magician’. Yet, in the absence of their star man, the Reds went on to reach the Champions League final, even after not signing a replacement in January. Coutinho was one of the key players in Liverpool’s attack. He brought an incredible vision to the team with his playmaking skills. Although the Brazilian was loved by the Merseyside club and the fans, he broke everybody’s heart and expectations by signing for Barcelona.

Change in Attacking Style After Coutinho Departure

Not Signing a Coutinho Replacement

Currently, the last thing Liverpool fans are missing this season is their ‘Little Magician’. Even after not spending money on a proper Coutinho replacement, Klopp has made Liverpool into serious contenders for the League title. When the Brazilian left the club, nobody thought Liverpool would reach this far. Klopp has pulled out a miracle by changing Liverpool’s attacking system in such a way that they won’t miss their little magician at all.

Not pursuing another signing after the Nabil Fekir deal fell through was a bold statement from the German manager. He felt that signing an attacking playmaker to replace Phil should not be Liverpool’s priority. The Liverpool manager instead spent the heavy bulk of money on luring Alisson from Rome. Alisson has arguably been the best keeper in the Premier League this season. The Brazilian has really helped Klopp’s side become serious contenders for the league. On the attacking side, Klopp signed Xherdan Shaqiri for a bargain price. He considered the former Stoke City winger’s role as a back-up for the attackers. So, even after not spending much money on any attacker, Klopp maintained Liverpool’s image as one of the best attacks in Europe in the Brazilian’s absence.

Importance of the Two Full-Backs

It actually took Klopp a prior £8 million combined investment to improve Liverpool’s attacking standards. This is the investment made on the full-back pair of Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold. After Coutinho left, Klopp shifted his focus on to the full-backs to create attacking chances for the front three. One of the best examples of this full-back attacking show was seen a few days ago when Liverpool hosted Watford at Anfield. In a 5-0 victory, it was the two full-backs who assisted all the goals. Klopp changed Liverpool’s approach of attacking from the centre of the pitch to the wide areas.

It has been very rare this season that Liverpool have scored a goal from the central positions. The deadly duo of Robertson and Alexander-Arnold has been the main source of attacking threat for the club this season. The quality of their crosses in the box is absolutely world class, especially Alexander-Arnold’s, which always cause a problem in the opposition’s penalty area.

This system of attacking from the wide areas has also helped Liverpool in improving their defensive stability. This has boosted the club’s title charge this season. CIES football has named Alexander-Arnold and Robertson as two of the most valuable full-backs in the world, currently. Changing Liverpool’s attacking style after Coutinho’s departure was a world-class tactic by the German manager. With the full-backs getting involved in the game, the club’s attack looks stronger than ever.

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