Fabio Aurelio was the first Brazilian to play for Liverpool and subsequently Lucas also became a vital member of the team. However, the positions that these players played did not mean any obvious flair that the fans would have expected on display.
Liverpool fans must have been dying to see their newest recruit in action as soon as it was announced that manager Brendan Rodgers had succeeded in bringing him to Anfield. Coutinho announced himself well by providing two assists against Wigan and scoring one against Swansea.
We have surely seen some potential in Coutinho that, if improved upon under the guidance and style of Rodgers, can bear significant fruit to the deadly combination of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez developing upfront.
Here are five reasons why Coutinho will make Liverpool’s striking duo even better over time while gaining experience in a new, more physical and feisty league.
Another person to worry about
Suarez has been rescuing Liverpool for a while now, and when he has an off day, more often than not Liverpool have one, too.
Suarez was arguably the only player with flair in the squad. With the arrival of Sturridge, he got support and they started reveling. Add another player with flair to that mix and you ease the responsibility on them both further.
But then you wonder—Why was Sturridge not bought during the summer? It's something for another piece and another day, I guess.
Earlier, it was Suarez running at the opposition's defense without anyone ahead of him. Thus, it was very easy to negate Liverpool's offense.
Now, when Coutinho picks up the ball and starts running at defenders, they are more vulnerable because other attackers are moving into the box, and Coutinho can certainly pick out a pass as he did so well against Wigan to assist a Suarez goal.
When Liverpool were playing pass-and-move under Kenny Dalglish, they did not bring in pace and instead bought Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam. Rodgers' system needs pace as much as Dalglish's did. Hence, Coutinho's purchase bodes well for the team and it has been all too evident with the Brazilian's performances and impact.
Coutinho's first goal for Liverpool was an example of how lethal his pace can be. His pace left his marker for dead, and he had acres of space to exploit before taking a powerful shot that could not be saved by the keeper from going into the net.
His swiftness can certainly stretch defenses besides providing the Reds with width at times of need. This will give the striking duo of Suarez and Sturridge more space and room to exploit.
Rodgers' style of play requires a lot of penetration and Coutinho certainly adds that to the team.
Willingness to Score
Talking about penetration, Coutinho has an inherent willingness to move forward and take shots on goal or set others up. While he strengthens the attack, he may compromise the strength of the defense. But who would you rather have: Cristiano Ronaldo or Stewart Downing?
You do not need symmetry in football.
One side having more attacking potential and defensive frailties is a blessing at times. It may give the opposition a weakness to attack through but it also gives them something more to worry about.
As an example, when Jose Enrique does not show any inhibition in playing almost like a winger, the opposing winger rarely gets out of his own half and the opponents are effectively playing with two right-backs.
Attacking the Box
Coutinho, like Suarez and Sturridge, is very direct.
When most of the team's agenda under Rodgers and his style of play is to retain possession, it is important to have players who can be direct as well. Prior to the arrival of Sturridge and Coutinho, Liverpool hardly had any force on the counter-attack. Now they certainly do as both of these recruits have more pace than Suarez.
The trio together are more of a threat in the final third of the pitch, when earlier, Liverpool used to look to only one or two people to provide them with the cutting edge.
Technical Player Needed for Tiki-Taka
Coutinho can not only retain possession, he can do so while getting the team to advance into opposition territory. He can play across the front line, and interchanging positions with talent such as Suarez makes it even more difficult for people who wish to defend against them.
Coutinho's link-up with his teammates has been in one word—mesmerizing. He can pick out some wonderful passes, as he did against Aston Villa to assist Jordan Henderson's goal.
While Suarez likes to hold his run more often, Sturridge is inclined to play the role of poacher.
Coutinho attacking the full-backs and crossing from the byline will mean more options. With the chance to either fizz the ball in the box or pull it back, Liverpool can be more dangerous while Gerrard will be lurking for the loose second balls—just ask Manchester City.
Liverpool and Rodgers still have a long way to go before they can catch up with Chelsea and Arsenal, let alone Manchester City and Manchester United. But the acquisition of Coutinho has undoubtedly added impetus and momentum in the charge to become what Liverpool have historically been known to strive for.