???️ Reintegrating Coutinho

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With Philippe Coutinho expected to line-up against Sevilla for the Reds tonight in Liverpool’s first Champions League game for three years we have to wonder if the inclusion of “The Little Magician” will be a good thing, or will it destabilise a midfield that has been working really well so far this season? Liverpool’s midfield has recently consisted of Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Georginio Wijaldum, and all three of them have gelled really well together and formed a crucial partnership built on understanding. This was really demonstrated in the game against Arsenal were the three players completely ran that midfield and won every battle that they were faced with, they all knew what was being asked of them, when to bomb forward and when to hold. Even in the game at the weekend against Manchester City, if you look at the first 20 minutes we were winning that midfield area and looked like we were heading for three points. Emre Can has won a lot of plaudits for his performances so far this campaign, and rightly so. The German has been absolutely brilliant in the heart of the midfield this season, but the player that has impressed me the most has been Jordan Henderson. I will admit I have very critical of the Liverpool skipper in recent seasons as at times I felt like he lacked the necessary leadership qualities to captain a Liverpool team. I’ve noticed that when games were not going our way and you need your captain to step up and be counted Henderson went missing, however this season I have been very impressed with not just the way he has lead the team, but the way he has controlled that midfield. He is getting stuck into more and more tackles and winning his fair share of them, as well as this his passing, which has always been good, seems to have gone up another level or two. He is becoming the captain that we all wanted him to become when Steven Gerrard stepped down. Wijnaldum has also improved his game, the energy he is bringing to that midfield is becoming a key aspect in driving Liverpool forward season.   So with the three players working very well together where does Coutinho fit into this Liverpool team? He can’t occupy the wide left position as Mane has made that his, and I wouldn’t drop him for anyone else in that Liverpool team. So Coutinho has to play in the midfield but who do you drop, and why? For me I think Coutinho’s best position for the moment is on the bench, as I don’t think you can justify dropping any of the midfielders, even for a player of Coutinho’s quality. The Brazilian has also made it quite clear this summer that he doesn’t want to be at Liverpool and wanted a move to Barcelona and I think this also needs to be taken in consideration when selecting the team for Wednesday night. I don’t think you can drop one player who is playing well for another player that doesn’t want to be at the club, no matter how good that player is. We all know the quality Coutinho processes and we can always use that later in the game if we need it but for now that midfield trio should stay as they are at least for team morale if nothing else. I do think Coutinho will make his way back into the starting line-up before too long but for the game tomorrow night I would like to see him on the bench and if he does come on I want to see him fighting and proving to all of us that he is ready to play for the shirt.   Imraan Adam @imadam786
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