Reds have signed a future world beater for peanuts.
Liverpool’s victory against Arsenal on Saturday marked a moments event as it was their highest ever score against the Gunners since the Premier League began, but not only that, it saw the beginning of Philippe Coutinho becoming a complete player.
Signed just over a year ago for the cut price fee of just £8m, the tricky Brazilian was brought over from Inter Milan where he had failed to establish himself within the first team. A short loan spell with Espanyol in 2012 gave glimpses into what he could do in a less tactically stifling league, but still there were numerous doubts about the kind of impact his raw talent would have at the very top of the game.
However, he quickly made an impression in England, thanks to his direct running and tricky feet he was able to terrify his opponents into backing off for fear of a yellow card if they got too close, and his link up play with Suarez and Sturridge was to give a tantalising look into the future that is still being strengthened to this day.
And though he didn’t get himself on the scoresheet on Saturday, what he did do was prove how valuable his all-round game is becoming by, well, getting his hands dirty.
The midfielder mucked in with some excellent tracking back and made sure that the midfield was flooded thanks to his tireless running. Taking the place of Joe Allen, many believed that he would leave the side lacking against a strong Gunners midfield, but his selection was fully justified from the start.
His efforts both in front of goal, in which he provided the assist for Daniel Sturridge to net Liverpool’s fourth, to in front of his own, where his harrying and jostling caused Jack Wilshire to lose his rag and lash out to receive a yellow proved to pay dividends and this could well be his strongest display in a Reds shirt yet.
If he can continue this for the foreseeable future then Liverpool will have a much greater chance of finally making it back to the Champions League next season and the already meagre £8m fee will see its significance shrink even more.
With two goals in 20 league appearances this season, there is a case for him needed to add to that tally, which he does, but it’ll be a small sacrifice if he can continue to develop his all-round game in the manner which he showed at the weekend.
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