ISL 2017/18: Losing Coutinho was a good thing for Liverpool, says Kerala Blasters coach, David James
Kerala Blasters hopes of qualifying for the play-offs is hanging by the thread. With 24 points from 16 games, they currently sit in fifth position, just two behind Jamshedpur FC. The Blasters will have to win their remaining two games to stand a chance but it will be far from easy.
They first visit third placed Chennaiyin FC on Friday and a week later will host table toppers, Bengaluru FC. Despite the tension in the air, Blasters coach, David James has chosen to give his boys some respite from the hectic schedule and ease their nerves.
On a mini-break from coaching duties, James was in Mumbai on Wednesday as part of a Slum Soccer tournament. While there, he offered his views on English clubs and their surprise dominance in the Champions League, something that they haven't done in a long time. As many as 5 English clubs are part of the last 16 and James reckons everybody has a chance but warned that it will be far from easy.
"Liverpool’s best chance at the moment of doing something superb would obliviously be the Champions League. Given the quality of teams still there, that is a tough ask," he said.
Despite losing their star midfielder, Philippe Coutinho in January, Liverpool haven't crumbled and look well on course to make it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The walloped FC Porto, 5-0 in the first leg. James suggested that Coutinho's departure could prove to be a blessing in disguise.
“Losing Coutinho was probably a good thing. Financially they got rewarded for it and that also means that there is a different balance, a better balance in the team now. I am already looking towards the 2018-19 season, which will be Liverpool’s year to win the league,” said James.
Kerala's coach believes Tottenham could be the dark horse in Europe this season but reckons Chelsea will find it extremely difficult to get the better of Barcelona at Camp Nou.
"Chelsea will have a tough time at Barcelona, however they have done it before. I hope as an ex-English player, all five teams can get through to the next stage. It will be a tough ask but Tottenham's results against Juventus shows that level of performance has improved in the Premier League," he said.