Philippe Coutinho “aiming to improve” on best-ever season with Liverpool in 2017/18

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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.

Coutinho made his way back to Merseyside along with Adam Lallana, with Emre Can the final player due back following his time with Germany at the Confederations Cup.

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.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 21, 2017: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia scores the second goal against Middlesbrough during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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.

With the signing of Mohamed Salah from AS Roma, Klopp has secured the third prong for a new-look attacking line, with the Egyptian joining Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino up front.

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.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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