Philippe Coutinho eclipsed one of Jurgen Klopp’s most important signings at Liverpool


It would be a pivotal day in recent Liverpool history.Although many fans hardly notice it.

Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace was, at first glance, not much to talk about.

So much so that the attention of supporters and the newspapers that followed the match fell on a man who was not even at Anfield that day, Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazilian has found a way to make headlines for many years since arriving on Merseyside in January 2013.

And after Sadio Mane won three points for the Reds, it’s Coutinho’s name that has featured in almost every title in the game.

While Coutinho has remained at home with a now infamous back injury while hoping to force a move to Barcelona, ​​Liverpool have remained firm in their approach. It would not be sold. Surely Liverpool could not do without their star man?

Meanwhile, Klopp made five changes to the squad which triumphed 2-1 at Hoffenheim for Londoners visit Frank de Boer.

Joe Gomez, Ragnar Klavan, James Milner and Daniel Sturridge came on, but you had to scan lower in most post-match match reports to get the first glimpse of the man making his Anfield debut.

Because, let’s face it, we expected very little from Andy Robertson.

The Scot had recently made the transition from relegated Hull City to Anfield and was seen as Alberto Moreno’s replacement at left-back.

But, fueled by a trademark hug from Klopp in the Anfield tunnel and some advice from Milner up front, Robertson put a marker on what was to come from him at Liverpool.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates with Andrew Robertson after Premier League game at Anfield Martin Rickett / PA Wire.

As the little Liverpool magician presumably watched from home, Robertson was the chief creator with an impressive debut that earned him ECHO’s Man of the Match, but little more than a handful of lines in just about all logs combined.

A clean sheet on one end and three chances created on the other, Robertson also saw more ball than any other player on the pitch, taking 134 touches as he was placed in the limelight for the Reds.

But what Liverpool fans saw, even if they didn’t realize, was another example of a new style the Reds would use in Coutinho’s absence, after Trent Alexander-Arnold, in the stands at Anfield for the game, enjoyed a similar performance in Germany.

Alexander-Arnold had created more chances than anyone and seen more ball than his teammates, in addition to scoring a goal himself, in the Champions League third qualifying round victory.

Robertson followed suit.

His teammates may not have been quite up to his style as Robertson crosses after a cross along the penalty area and just out of reach of Liverpool forwards.

How times have changed. Robertson and Alexander-Arnold now provide goals regularly, so much so that the Reds duo are taking advantage of seasonal competitions to see who can get the most assists.

But in early 2017/18 Klopp would be in no rush with his new defender, keeping him on the sidelines, with Moreno continuing to be a regular until early December, when the Spaniard injured his ankle. .

It’s easy to forget now, but Moreno was in the shape of his Liverpool career when he picked up on the unfortunate issue in a 7-0 beating against Spartak Moscow.

Liverpool FC highlights

Robertson has never looked back.

He has played all but six remaining Liverpool games this season and has torn up all early assessments of his bargain transfer from Hull.

“It was great, when I was told I was getting a nod you start to think about playing at Anfield and in front of the fans,” he said after his debut.

“You can’t really imagine it until you’re around. It was a different class.

An even bigger imagination would have been needed to predict how successful Robertson would be at Anfield.

And that’s another reason why such concerns about Coutinho were misplaced.

He may still be in the headlines, but he certainly hasn’t been missed.

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