A collective gasp chartered a mesmerising course around the stadium and it was palpable, even if it lasted for just a minuscule moment. The gasp seemed like an inaudible yet tangible rumble. It was replaced by loud, raucous cheers. The stadium erupted.
The fans were ecstatic. The goal had made their spirits soar, and they were faithfully vocal about how they felt about it.
The goal had set them free, it had given them flight, it had transformed the cantankerous cacophony into a blissful symphony.
The stadium had come alive for him. That would not be the first time.
His ascent was well and truly underway.
* * *
Over the previous seasons, his talent was on display but in bursts. This season though, he has taken off, and his bright plumage is there for all to see in awe.
Philippe Coutinho has had a wonderful season for Liverpool. His impact for the club has seemingly been on the rise perpetually. He has been turning in substantially effective shifts time and time again. His impressive run of form has seen Liverpool knit together their play from the deep chasms of Coutinho’s footballing talent.
His influence and clasp on the game has been colossal, so much so that he has not featured in just three of the 27 league matches this season.
Overall, in the 43 matches that Liverpool has had to feature this term, Coutinho has been a part- a significant facet- of the team on 30 occasions. When Coutinho has played, the club has a win rate of 73 % and has a win rate of just 46 % when he has not featured. (Sky Sports) This pays testament to the gleaming edifice that the Brazilian has been for the Merseysiders this term.
The fag end of November witnessed a miraculous resurgence in Liverpool’s form. If that form has been on the rise ever since, consistently and steadily, Coutinho has definitely been a huge contributing factor.
His link-up play, which was always enterprising, has metastasized into something formidable and tantalizing. That facet of his game seems to be escalating steadily. His movement on the ball has been relentless and ruthless and he has left many a defender in his wake, galloping and gimmicking his way to unlock many defences.
Shots on goal
For a long time, Coutinho’s major weakness has been his accuracy when shooting on goal. At times, he has been lacking in power; at times, he has been found wanting on accuracy; at times, his shots let chances go begging. Having haggled with this constraint of his for fairly long, he seems to have gotten around it.
Three outrageous goals from outside the box, all winners, have lifted the team’s morale, standing in the league and the stock about his goalscoring ability. His ability to strike when the occasion most demands it has been breathtaking; the goals, likewise. On the whole, the manner in which he attacks the goal with a venomous appetite seems hugely encouraging.
All round development
The 2-1 victory against City is a bright example to how his game has undergone a well rounded augmentation.
Coutinho was buzzing throughout the match. He zipped across wings tirelessly. He was marauding via opponent territory and dancing past defenders. The zest with which he went after the ball seemed infectious.
He started moves from deep within the defence. He was the crucial link between the defence and the attack. The Brazilian took it to shimmying past defenders to create chances for his teammates or freeing up space to take a shot himself.
Coutinho’s awareness has been superlative and that has aided him superbly in creating spaces out of nothing. His acceleration seems to be able to shuffle between top gears effortlessly.
He seems to be flying.
* * *
That Coutinho’s upsurge in form has coincided with Liverpool’s renaissance esque form is no fluke. The Brazilian’s hugely influential play has dazzled and bedazzled all sun and sundry. His potential seems to keep flying skyward, and his form suggests that his stock will be climbing up the ropes too.
His form is crucial to Liverpool, as the club needs its key players in top form going into the business end of the season.
It has been wildly entertaining and encouraging to watch Phil in this avatar, and one can only hope for bigger and better things from the Little Magician.
His ascent continues.