Liverpool’s first trip to the London Stadium saw Philippe Coutinho once again prove himself as an elite member of Jurgen Klopp’s squad.
A lacklustre West Ham performance was well and truly punished by the Brazilian as he thrived in the central midfield role his manager had tipped as his future long-term position earlier in the week.
Reds shot-stopper Simon Mignolet has praised Coutinho and described the immediate benefits he saw from playing him deeper.
“In that position he gets more touches of the ball and it worked well,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“They can’t really put one marker on to him. Philippe can distribute the ball in a brilliant way.”
“In the Premier League you need creative players to open games up. You look at Chelsea, they have Eden Hazard. Man City have Raheem Sterling, David Silva or Kevin de Bruyne.”
“Philippe’s pass put the first goal on a plate for Daniel [Sturridge]. That made it a different game. He’s a good boy who works hard. He’s very important to us.”
“It was a big positive that he signed that new contract. We all hope he stays at Liverpool for many years to come.”
Coutinho’s display posed as an exciting preview of what he will go on to be capable of in the No.8 position he looks set to adopt.
It gave him the freedom to roam, more time to make full use of his incredible vision and the ability to make driving runs from midfield both with and without the ball. The adjustment rarely saw him away from the action and granted him the chance to constantly pick up the ball and control the game.
More interestingly, it saw him strike up a deadly partnership with Daniel Sturridge, feeding the striker’s runs and ensuring his intelligent movement did not go to waste.
An exciting sign ahead of next season.