Liverpool made a couple big moves in the midseason transfer period, the last of which involved signing midfielder Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan. While Coutinho has a bright future, he may not be what the Reds need to make a push at the top four in the Premier League.
Liverpool have depth at midfielder, and while they addressed the need for another striker with the signing of Daniel Sturrdige early in the transfer window, the Reds are still lacking at the defensive end, and Coutinho won’t do much to alleviate those concerns.
Liverpool are currently in seventh place in the Premier League, just seven points behind fourth-place Tottenham. With some added pieces, the Reds have an opportunity to crack the top four. But will it be enough?
The biggest question is if Coutinho can bring enough to the table to spark Liverpool to a second-half push past Arsenal and Everton into the top four. Arsenal was quiet during the transfer period, and overtaking them may simply be a matter of momentum.
Still, there’s no denying Coutinho’s talent. He’s quick, smooth and technical, and as quoted by Richard Arrowsmith of MirrorFootball, he’s also excited to bring his talents to Anfield:
I'm feeling very happy, it's a very important step in my career and I'm expecting to come here and play good football to give my contribution on the pitch. They are the club that have been interested in me and that have showed this interest so I know they believe in me and my football.
At just 20 years old, Coutinho still has a ton of potential, and he could prove to be a cornerstone for Liverpool going forward. He has to develop more consistency, but his future in the Premier League seems bright.
The move to acquire Coutinho wasn’t a bad decision, and the £8.5 million price tag could have been much worse. The question is whether Brendan Rodgers would have been wise to spend that money on a player who could have a bigger, more consistent impact this season, especially in the back end.
Making the top four isn’t the only matter of importance for Liverpool, and adding Coutinho certainly creates another building block for the club. If the Reds do come up short of a run at the Champions League, Coutinho will still be around to give Liverpool even more hope for future seasons. But fans can’t expect him to be an immediate game-changer early in his career with the club.
Coutinho failed to establish a starting place with Inter, and his inconsistency is what has some worried the 20-year-old won’t make a huge impact for Liverpool early on (via BBC Sport). The move may work out in the long term, but his short-term impact will be the deciding factor on how successful the move was for this season.