Philippe Coutinho has struggled to re-find his early season for Liverpool since suffering an injury against Sunderland in January. However, the Brazilian re-found his star quality at the perfect time, with Liverpool confirming their superiority over local rivals Everton.
The 24-year-old started off the season in the best possible way with a stunning free-kick against Arsenal setting the tone for what many considered to be his best season since arriving at Anfield. A second goal at the Emirates was equally indicative of his improved precision in front of goal as he latched on to Nathaniel Clyne’s low drilled ball and guided the ball into the far corner.
5 goals in his opening 11 league games saw the ‘world-class’ label thrown vaguely around in Coutinho’s direction. However, an ankle injury against Sunderland saw him miss seven league games for the Reds – a serious check in momentum for both him and the club.
Going into the Merseyside derby, with injuries to Lallana and Henderson, there was an increased pressure on Philippe Coutinho to perform. The Brazilian dually delivered, scoring the second goal for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Showing a quick turn of feet before dancing his way through the Everton defence, the 24-year-old curled the ball sumptuously into the top right hand corner. Back to his best.
Following the match, fans were quick to heap praise on the midfielder for delivering in a crucial tie for the side. Here’s how fans reacted to his performance at the weekend. Do you agree?
Coutinho man of the match for me. But Lucas, Lovren and Matip not far behind. In the circumstances, very impressive performance from #LFC
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) April 1, 2017
Coutinho, Origi, Lucas and Lovren just four of several players to step up today after heavy criticism. Terrific performance.
— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) April 1, 2017
Phillipe Coutinho is world class and he's ours.
— – (@AnfieldRd96) April 1, 2017
Credit has to go to Coutinho for how he reacted after such a shaky patch of form. His goal was proof of just what he is capable of and his all round impact on proceedings was tremendous.
The Brazilian has been widely linked with a summer move to Barcelona despite signing a new long term deal at the club. However, a 3-1 win on Saturday sees Liverpool’s top four fate firmly in their own hands and a return to the Champions League could see Coutinho remain on Merseyside.
Coutinho picked the ball up in Iniesta's position and produced something Iniesta couldn't.
— RG (@registability) April 1, 2017
Now that's the real Coutinho. What a goal, what a player.
— Joel Rabinowitz (@joel_archie) April 1, 2017
With Lallana and Henderson unlikely to return any time in the near future, and fears over Sadio Mane’s fitness after being substituted in the second half, Coutinho will have a huge part to play in Liverpool’s hunt for the top four. If he can showcase his class more often than he has lately, he could provide Jurgen Klopp with a huge boost in the Premier League run-in.