Good friend of Empire of the Kop, Brazil Stats, has helped us understand what Brazilians think of Coutinho and Liverpool following the painful summer transfer saga in which we refused his proposed exit to Barcelona.
The journalist runs a very successful Twitter account dedicated to Brazilian football and is a Brazilian native, so is the perfect man to explain what Coutnho’s countrymen think right now.
Below is our questions, and his answers…
Interestingly, it appears that many are HAPPY he’s staying at Liverpool, a club which has so far enabled him to be a success for Tite’s national side.
Are Brazilians disappointed that Coutinho stayed at Liverpool and didn’t sign for Barca?
Barcelona are a pretty popular club in Brazil among followers of European football, however, I would say that most non-Barcelona fans were pleased with Coutinho’s permanence at Liverpool. He is gradually developing and performing well for the national team, so there is no need for him to make this swap in World Cup season. Brazil legend Pelé has stated that Coutinho does not need to leave a club where he is already successful.
Are they surprised by Liverpool’s stance and our refusal to accept an offer which could have reached £118m?
The way today’s market is inflamed, these numbers are not surreal for a player of Philippe Coutinho’s quality. For most popular in Brazil, he is the national team’s second most important player right behind Neymar. If Neymar is worth over £200m, it is no surprise for anyone that Barcelona offered this amount of money for the Liverpool man, especially given that he just signed a new contract and that his club had declared that he was not for sale under any circumstances.
What do they make of Coutinho’s behaviour..? He handed in a transfer request the day before the season began, 6 months after signing a 5 year contract and claiming he never wanted to leave…
There is not much to defend about Coutinho’s behaviour. It is quite unprofessional from a player to sign a long-term contract with no release clause, with his consensus and own knowledge, and then complain shortly after about his club not allowing him to leave right before the start of the new season. The player’s attitude has left a lot to be desired, but he remains a very popular figure in Brazil, nonetheless. People are crazy about him, as direct consequence of his growing influence for El Seleção.
How did Coutinho play in Brazil’s recent fixtures? Seems like he recovered from his ‘back injury’ pretty quickly…
Coutinho has been one of the most consistent and decisive elements of Tite’s tactical scheme. A recent stat shows that Brazil only needs 30 minutes to score a goal whenever Philippe is on the pitch, whereas the wait increases to an average of 70 minutes per goal, whenever he is out. A stat which was perfectly highlighted in the previous qualifying game against Ecuador, as Brazil failed to create clear-cut chance before Coutinho’s second-half inclusion. But following his entrance, Brazil improve as a team and as a collective unit, and was able to create several team-plays which were concluded with two goals.
What do you expect for Coutinho’s future? Will he knuckle down and perform for LFC or sulk? And will he end up at Barca (or maybe PSG?) next summer?
I believe that Coutinho will need a couple of days following his return to the club, in order to re-adapt himself and regain his permanent spot in the starting lineup, but I am fully confident that he will give his best impression in order to retrieve a bit of the crazy affection he once had, before his disappointing behaviour towards Liverpool fans. The 25-year old will be looking to show his best football because despite his will to join Barcelona, Coutinho also loves Liverpool. No one forced him to extend his contract, had he not been happy where he was. It is Barcelona’s approach that made him lose his mind and come up with a couple of unmeasured decisions. Besides the fact that it is World Cup season, and the Brazilian will be hopeful of realising his childhood dream, of representing his country.
And lastly.. Have Brazilians noticed Roberto Firmino’s unbelievable start to the season? He’s been superb – and many Reds now rate him above Coutinho anyway.
Unfortunately, as opposed to Coutinho’s high popularity in Brazil, Roberto Firmino remains an underrated figure. Most Brazilians are not familiar with him, was it because they do not follow European league closely-enough, or because Firmino left the country at a very early age, before having proved himself in the Brazilian league, as Coutinho did at Vasco, for example. So the fans were unfamiliar with him, some only discovered his existence once he was called up for the national team for the first time in November 2015. However, Roberto is slowly gaining a reputation in his homeland, as Brazilian press did not miss the opportunity to highlight his excellent start of the season with the Reds. Brazil manager Tite has picked him to start against Colombia in an away World Cup qualifier, and was not short of praise towards him, insisting that he is one of the most intelligent players under his disposal.