Philippe Coutinho Will Leave Liverpool If There is No Champions League, Feels Heskey
A few weeks ago, away in Seville, a very slick Liverpool dismantled Sevilla in less than half an hour to take a 3-0 lead. Less than half an hour of football later, Jurgen Klopp wore an angry look on the touchline as his boys were about to throw away a winning position – mostly due to a nonchalant attitude.
File image of Jurgen Klopp and Philippe Coutinho during training. (Getty Images)
New Delhi: A few weeks ago, away in Seville, a very slick Liverpool dismantled Sevilla in less than half an hour to take a 3-0 lead. Less than half an hour of football later, Jurgen Klopp wore an angry look on the touchline as his boys were about to throw away a winning position – mostly due to a nonchalant attitude.
Soon enough though that defence was going to get some relief as the ‘Fab Four’ – Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firminio, Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho hit top gear.
They will need to stay in that zone come Sunday, because their favourite rivals are visiting – Everton, albeit severe weather conditions.
Hail, Storm or Rain or in this case snow, Klopp’s trusted aides, it is safe to say, will be busier than their defenders, is what former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey believes.
“Everton even with the rejuvenated Wayne Rooney do not have enough coming into attack to trouble the likes of James Milner and Dejan Lovren,” he says confidently. Heskey, a veteran of the fixture needs no second invitation to a prediction, ‘3-0,’ he states.
Both teams have done well in the recent matches in Europe, and the form on either side is good, but like the cliché, doesn’t forget to point out that derby day is all about the day.
Heskey explains that under Jurgen Klopp the one thing that his troubling the Reds is the lack of a commanding presence in defence.
“In the recent past, we have been conceding too many soft goals or letting go off situations. There is an urgent need to invest in a top quality defender,” sayss Heskey. However, he is hopeful that the management will look into this come the January transfer window.
“Scoring goals is not the problem.”
The former England number 9 goes explains over the telephone from Mumbai that unless the soft goals conceded count begins to reduce, the chances of staying relevant for silverware are bleak.
Expectedly, he sees the hosts taking the game to their opponents, and points out that to stop his former team from making a mockery out of the Toffees, they will need to play with a defensive shield in front of their backline.
“Everton’s holding midfield has to be able to chase the likes of Sane and Salah and Coutinho.”
“Sam Allardyce’s team has not recovered from the loss of Romelu Lukaku. He is prolific. Imagine being the all time leading goal scorer for your nation at the age of 24, it is incredible!”
Everton are reportedly going to table a massive bid upwards of 50 million GBP for Pierre Emerick Aubameyang in January – will that come through and solve the Lukaku problem for Big Sam, only time will tell.
When asked if he thinks that Coutinho will leave next summer if there is no UEFA Champions League in the schedule, he instantly says, “Yes.” Adding that even though the rumor mills say January, he’d love to see the playmaker enthrall till summer, at least.
“It is difficult to your back on a chance to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona. They are in a different league altogether in comparison,” he notes.
Emile Heskey along with Atif Khan understands that football in India is growing at a rapid pace, which can also in turn opens up more business avenues.
Heskey, who conducted a clinic in Mumbai with the Indian Football Academy trainees, also plans to bring some of England’s greatest to the country in 2018 – the idea; is to promote and help develop the sport.
Heskey was not the most prolific goal scorer during his playing days, but for anyone who watched Liverpool in the early 2000’s, Heskey was an important part of the attacking process.
According to Ian Rush, another legend of Anfield, he added a different dimension to the attack – helping the fast Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler blossom. Apart from representing England on more than 50 occasions, Heskey was part of the Liverpool team that won the FA Cup, League Cup and the UEFA Cup in 2000-01, he found the back of the net 22 times that season.
“When I see the likes of Salah, Firminio, Coutinho and Mane play at their best, though very different, I am reminded of our days with Fowler, Owen, Gerrad and me,” he signs off.
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