Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho is ready to return to action in the Europa League opener against Girondins de Bordeaux and help his side turn around their indifferent start to the campaign. The Brazil international missed the defeat against Manchester United on Saturday due to suspension, but is convinced Brendan Rodgers will put things right in the forthcoming games.
The Northern Irish manager has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, following consecutive defeats against West Ham United and West Ham and Louis van Gaal's side. Liverpool icon John Aldridge recently said that the club had "lost its identity" under Rodgers and fans were understandably angry.
"There's pressure on the manager, make no mistake. He needs to find a solution to his side's problems. Fans are starting to get on his back, some are even calling for blood, but everyone knows that we have to improve fast," Aldridge wrote in his column for Liverpool Echo.
But Coutinho believes that it is not the time to panic and that the squad must remain calm to overturn their situation in the coming games. "It is vital to stay calm, mainly because we are just at the beginning in all competitions. We have a long season ahead and many things can happen. The Premier League is tough – all clubs are great teams – and we know twists and turns will happen," the Brazi international said to the club's website.
"We have to not only remain calm but also to work hard to achieve what we want on the pitch. It feels bad to be out and not being available to be selected and help the team but we have to look ahead now and get over these two recent games we lost," he added, amid his expected return to the line-up in the trip to the Ligue 1 side. "There are lessons to be learned so we can move on and avoid making the same mistakes. We have a great team here and we know we can improve – and that's what we're trying to do right now."
The Merserseysiders will begin their Europe campaign on Thursday night (17 September) with a trip to Bordeaux before four consecutive games at Anfield against Norwich, Carlisle United (League Cup), Aston Villa and FC Sion (Europa League). Coutinho hopes to secure a positive result in France to put recent setbacks behind them.
"It's a very important game as it's our first in the Europa League. We know how important it is to have a good start in a competition like this and everyone's focused on doing well in this game," he said. "After two consecutive defeats, we're conscious there's going to be more pressure from the outside – we have to do things right on the pitch so we can achieve good results."