Jamie Carragher has excellently summarised the massive improvements Coutinho has made to his game this season in his column for the Daily Mail.
Our legendary former centre-back used to play alongside our Brazilian magician in the early days of Phil’s career, when we acquired him from Inter Milan in January 2013.
The Sky Sports pundit suggests that while he could tell Coutinho was talented, he wasn’t sure if he had the temperament to develop into one of the Premier League’s very best players – which he now undoubtedly is.
So far this term, Coutinho has dazzled, registering five goals in all competitions including blockbusters against Arsenal and Hull.
There used to be a time when I would roll my eyes. Philippe Coutinho’s name would be mentioned alongside a team such as Real Madrid but I never took it seriously.
Coutinho at the Bernabeu one day? You could see in training the quiet lad Liverpool signed from Inter Milan in January 2013 was skilful and had ability but I wasn’t sure what I saw at Melwood would translate to the biggest stage, given some of the things he did in those early matches.
Now look at him. Coutinho has become one of the stars of the Premier League, the driving force behind Liverpool’s impressive early form and the key to them sustaining what could yet become a challenge for the title. I’m not rolling my eyes any longer.
He is playing at such a level that you could put him in the No 10 position of any of Liverpool’s rivals — Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United — and he would fit in seamlessly and enhance their quality.
There’s no doubt that right now, Coutinho would get into a Premier League XI – that’s how well he’s playing – while his team-mate Sadio Mane might have a sniff too.
If we’re to down Crystal Palace today, we’ll need both our attackers on top form, alongside Roberto Firmino – but it’s the defence who’ll need to be at their best to deal with the expected aerial assault.