Philippe Coutinho has reinforced his ambition to improve on his outstanding 2016/17 campaign after returning for pre-season training with Liverpool.
The 25-year-old is one of the last to report to Melwood after a lengthy summer break that saw him head back to his native Brazil.
While both Coutinho and Lallana are unlikely to feature for the Reds in their opening pre-season friendlies against Tranmere Rovers and Wigan Athletic, their arrival is a major lift.
Liverpool’s No. 10 is particularly key to Jurgen Klopp‘s plans, having scored 14 goals in 36 games last season, laying on a further nine, for his best tally for a single campaign.
Kicking back into gear with a series of fitness tests on Tuesday morning, Coutinho has stressed he is “aiming to improve” in 2017/18.
“I am working; every day I try to improve and I hope this season I can do even better than the last season. I am always aiming to improve,” he told LiverpoolFC.com.
“It was a good season. Of course, we wanted to win something, but we are ready here to start again to do everything to have a better season.
“Everyone has big confidence and this is the key for the players. I am confident—I think everyone is.”
It will be interesting to see whether Coutinho can improve on his output for 2016/17, considering he is likely to operate in a new role this season.
This should allow Coutinho to drop back into the midfield, taking up a similar duty to that witnessed in May’s 4-0 win away to West Ham.
That day at the Olympic Stadium saw Coutinho create six chances for his team-mates, his most for any Premier League game last season, and level with his best-ever tally for the Reds.
Klopp can utilise this creativity to great effect behind Salah, Mane and Firmino, with Coutinho arguably at his best threading pass through for fast-paced runners.
Now Coutinho is back at Melwood, Klopp can continue to build his side around his key playmaker.
Coutinho’s tangible performance may not improve in 2017/18, but he can certainly work towards increasing his influence this pre-season.