Philippe Coutinho reminds suitors of worth

A cynic might suggest it is more than coincidence that Philippe Coutinho’s most prolific goalscoring month in a Liverpool shirt has come just before the transfer window reopens.

Philippe Coutinho reminds suitors of worth

Nevertheless the 25-year-old Brazilian emphasised against Swansea City just how important it is for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to retain his services for the immediate future. If not longer.

Had Barcelona scouts their eyes over this display they would have been licking their lips; it was a selection box of Coutinho’s ability packed with plenty of festive treats for the Kop to feast upon.

In his 200th appearance for the Reds, the Brazilian sparkled as he scored the pick of the goals — a stunning curling effort — which started Liverpool’s rout against a Swansea side that look doomed for relegation unless they can recruit a managerial miracle worker and quickly.

The imperious form of Mohamed Salah has put Coutinho in the shadows somewhat this season.

Indeed it has even softened the stance of many Liverpool supporters towards a potential exit — perhaps he was not as essential as had been thought in the summer.

Such suggestions should be firmly put to one side, though. Liverpool’s new year’s resolution should be to hang on to Coutinho for as long as possible.

Liverpool cannot afford to be complacent over the issue. They saw off Barcelona’s advances in the summer but they must be doubly resolute again in January.

Encouragingly, there is nothing in Coutinho’s body language to suggest he is anything but fully committed to what Klopp is developing at Anfield.

Indeed the German’s coaching has helped Coutino make the leap from good to world class. In 87 appearances under Klopp, he has scored 37 of his 54 goals for the Reds.

Klopp preferred to focus about the contribution of all of his players and not just Coutinho. “I am with all the boys when they score. I couldn’t say how many he has, or how many he has. I don’t care, to be honest,” said Klopp.

“That’s not my interest. If the boys if we play how we play they will be in different situations and it will be easy to score. It looks like after the game and it is 5-0 and you think, easy game, but it wasn’t an easy game.”

Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski could only stand and admire Coutinho’s sublime opener from 20 yards, which owed much to the tireless Roberto Firmino’s harrying of Jordan Ayew.

With Anfield flat and Swansea packing the midfield with bodies, Liverpool had to wait until the second half to begin the rout in earnest.

Six minutes after the break Firmino sweetly volleyed from Coutinho’s free-kick before the Reds scored two goals in the space of 90 seconds to end the game as a contest.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, 19, netted his first Premier League goal when he seized upon Alfie Maswon’s header from Andrew Robertson’s cross and hit a powerful strike past Fabianski high into the net.

“His mother told me last week that on Boxing Day the whole part of the family from America would be there. I asked, ‘Is that an order for him to be in the line-up,?” said Klopp.

“He was fantastic and scored a good goal. Good news for the family Alexander-Arnold!”

Firmino was then able to tap into an empty net from after Salah had unselfishly squared the ball to him inside the six-yard box.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain completed the rout late on when he capitalised on some shambolic Swansea defending and lifted the ball into the top corner of the net with an angled finish.

“I know that people are often not patient enough as it’s all about results,” said Klopp.

“It’s possible from outside to think it’s not quick enough, we feel really good in this moment. Five minutes in the Arsenal game was not good but the performance was good. We drew. For this result, we feel really good.”

Swansea caretaker boss Leon Brittan, who expects to be in charge for their clash with Watford, felt his side were culpable for making stupid errors.

“The second half after conceding goal all belief and confidence drained from the players,” he said.

“We made a lot of errors, basic mistakes, and you do it against a team of Liverpool’s quality you get punished. We are bottom of the league and confidence is low.

“It’s unacceptable. It’s difficult when the game is going like that but you have to face up to it and take responsibility. I’m part of it, of course, it’s the players out on the pitch.”

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3):

Mignolet 6; Alexander-Arnold 7, Matip 7, Klavan 7, Robertson 6 (Milner 75; 6); Oxlade-Chamberlain 7, Can 6, Wijnaldum 6; Salah 7 (Lallana 69; 6), Firmino 8 (Solanke 68; 6), Coutinho 8.

Substitutes not used:

Karius, Lovren, Gomez, Mane Booked: None.

SWANSEA CITY (4-3-3):

Fabianski 6; Naughton 5, Fernandez 4, Mawson 5, Olsson 4; Fer 5 (Sanches 78; 5), Mesa 6 (Clucas 65; 6), Carroll 6; Routledge 7, McBurnie 6 (Abraham 62’ 6), Ayew 6.

Substitutes not used:

Van der Hoorn, Nordfeldt, Dyer, Rangel.

Referee:

K Friend

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