Coutinho resurgence shows how Klopp has fired up Reds

LONDON • Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho believes he has become a more complete player and said he is always striving to make himself better after putting in a string of fine performances in recent weeks.

The 23-year-old Brazilian had a quiet start to the campaign but has burst into life under the stewardship of new boss Juergen Klopp.

He has scored four goals, including one in Liverpool's 4-1 victory over Manchester City on Saturday.

"I'm more complete, with more confidence and different experiences to learn from," Coutinho told the club's website.

"I always want to be better."

He is shining largely due to Klopp, who has made an instant impact at Anfield. The German manager has restored confidence and removed negativity. Here is how he has transformed the team:

IDENTIFYING NEW LEADERS

After Steven Gerrard's departure, the question of who would lead Liverpool extended much further than who would pull on the captain's armband. They needed players capable of inspiring others.

In Lucas Leiva and Mamadou Sakho, Klopp identified players who could not only carry out instructions on the pitch but also set an example for the others to follow.

MAKING THE BEST OF WHAT YOU HAVE

Towards the end of his tenure, Brendan Rodgers had become increasingly weighed down by weaknesses in his squad.

Klopp realised he had no option but to try to inspire the players whom he had inherited, given that the transfer window does not open until January.

He gave Emre Can an extended run in midfield, made Lucas a mainstay and established a defined role for Roberto Firmino.

He concentrated on Alberto Moreno's strengths rather than worrying about his weaknesses.

In doing so, Klopp has shown that Liverpool's squad is nowhere near as bad as it had once seemed.

HARD WORK WILL PAY OFF

When Klopp took charge, he found out that what Liverpool lacked was a sense of collective endeavour, a team ethic stemming from work on the training ground and an identity of how they wanted to play.

Klopp cancelled some days off, improved the players' fitness and instilled qualities such as willingness to run and the understanding of how and where their energy would best be deployed.

Evidence suggests that his methods are having the desired effect.

BEING BETTER WITHOUT THE BALL

Liverpool remained vulnerable despite being irresistible in possession for much of the 2013-14 campaign. Putting that right was always going to be a priority for Klopp.

Now, when Liverpool lose the ball, there is a plan to win it back. The full-backs are in touch with the centre-backs, Lucas protects them and every player is charged with reclaiming possession at the earliest opportunity.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2015, with the headline 'Coutinho resurgence shows how Klopp has fired up Reds'. Print Edition | Subscribe