Liverpool: Will Reds survive December without Philippe Coutinho?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) /

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has been ruled out injured for December. Can the Reds survive without their Brazilian magician?

Philippe Coutinho picked up an injury in Liverpool‘s match against Sunderland and will now be sidelined at least until the beginning of 2017. Coutinho has arguably been the best Liverpool player so far this season and Jurgen Klopp will now have a difficult time in December without him.

The Brazilian has played 13 matches in the Premier League this season. He’s scored five goals, served up five assists and won four Man of the Match awards. He is one of the most influential players in the league.

In addition, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana may not be 100% fit for Sunday’s game against Bournemouth, while Sadio Mane will be absent in January and February because of international commitments with Senegal.

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So, in the next two months, Liverpool are set to play without their best players of the season. Luckily for them, their schedule doesn’t appear too difficult. In December, Liverpool will face Bournemouth (A), West Ham United (H), Everton (A), Stoke City (H) and Manchester City (H).

The first match Mane will miss is a trip to Old Trafford to play Manchester United on January 15. It is now very important that Coutinho is 100% ready for that match. Without Mane and Coutinho, it’s hard to imagine that Liverpool can return from Old Trafford undefeated. Although, United are still struggling to find their own form.

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During the absence of Coutinho, Klopp will have to rely on injury-prone Daniel Sturridge. The England international was one of the best Liverpool players three years ago. The striker scored 21 goals in 29 matches, but then suffered with injuries and has played only 35 matches in the league since.

Sturridge is yet to score in the Premier League this season. Of course, Divock Origi is also another option Klopp has. The Belgian youngster has scored one goal so far, but one of his biggest problems is inconsistency.

Liverpool have dominated possession against most of the teams they have played so far this season. Without Coutinho, and with Lallana and Firmino both coming off of injuries, it is possible that this dominance will now dissolve in the forthcoming month.

Jurgen Klopp has the option of altering his playing style and formation slightly, but knowing him, it is not too likely. The German manager is well known for how strict his playing philosophy is.  Sturridge or Origi will take Coutinho’s place and the general playing style and formation shouldn’t change.

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Fortunately, Liverpool have just two tough matches in December: the derby at Goodison Park against Everton and then against Manchester City at Anfield. It is those matches where they will miss Coutinho the most.

However, the team’s undefeated run has been going on for eleven matches now, and if they do manage to stay undefeated in December without Coutinho, it would be a clear signal that Liverpool will finally be a serious Premier League title candidate again.