Philippe Coutinho and Co. Prove Liverpool in Good Shape for Premier League

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Philippe Coutinho and Co. Prove Liverpool in Good Shape for Premier League
Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Liverpool saved their best performance of pre-season for last with a very confident 4-0 brushing aside of Borussia Dortmund at Anfield on Sunday.

Jordan Henderson’s roaring celebration as he slotted home the Reds’ fourth of the afternoon embodied the desire and hunger Brendan Rodgers’ men showed with just one week until the new Premier League campaign gets underway.

 

Brazilian Magic

But it was Philippe Coutinho who was the outstanding performer for Liverpool, as Kopites left Anfield asking, “Luis who?”

Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Embarking on his second full season on Merseyside, the Brazilian attacker has the chance to make a big step up in his career and become an untouchable member of the first team, and against Dortmund he certainly looked the part. 

Coutinho was nothing short of sensational as he showcased glimpses of the exciting attributes Liverpool can expect from him this coming season. His vision to flick on Dejan Lovren's pass through to Daniel Sturridge for the Reds' first of the afternoon was delightful, and he took his second-half goal very well from an acute angle.

Deservedly so, Coutinho received the loudest standing ovation of the afternoon when he was withdrawn for Jordon Ibe after 71 minutes.

 

I'm Lovren It

While Coutinho stood out in Liverpool’s attack, Brendan Rodgers talked up the importance of his side’s clean sheet in a television interview with BT Sport after the game:

We want to continue with the offensive threat we saw today when the season gets underway, but also improve defensively.

I thought Dejan Lovren was brilliant today, he’s a real professional. Both he and Martin Skrtel were excellent today, as was Manquillo.

On-loan full-back Manquillo was solid on his frist appearance for the club, but it was another new arrival—Lovren—who caught the eye. 

He looked composed and professional, slotting straight into the heart of Liverpool’s defence alongside Martin Skrtel and instantly forming an intelligent and strong partnership. Very impressive from a player who has only spent a few days training with his new teammates.

Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Lovren got forward well, playing a big part in Sturridge's opener and powerfully heading home Steven Gerrard's corner just three minutes later for a goal on his debut.

It will be interesting now to see whom Rodgers selects in his central defence when the real thing begins, as Liverpool kick off the new campaign at home to Southampton on Sunday, 17 August.

Rodgers has a plethora of talent to pick from in Lovren, Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho, while Daniel Agger’s omission from proceedings on Sunday surely signals his imminent Liverpool exit.

 

Fit and Ready

Henderson looked to be back in full-throttle mode in the second half after a quiet opening 45 minutes, while Raheem Sterling’s pace and trickery caused Jurgen Klopp’s side problems. 

Sturridge took his 10th-minute strike expertly, and his natural instinct for goal will be integral to Liverpool making their waves of attacking football count for something.

Final fitness preparations and conditioning will be top of Rodgers’ agenda in training over the next week, and a checkup on Lazar Markovic’s availability will be in order as the 2014-15 Premier League campaign looms.

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