The 2015 January transfer window was a pretty dull one to say the least. Whether it was due to the lack of abusive fans outside stadiums on deadline day, or Liverpool’s subdued business done on the in-comings end remains to be known. That was, of course, until around half-an-hour prior to the eleven o’clock deadline, when the news broke that our little magician Philippe Coutinho has penned a new bumper 5-year deal, which will see him contracted to the club until 2020.
The surprising timing to this announcement was undoubtedly planned by Rodgers to usher away the few disgruntled questions posed by fans regarding why there were no re-enforcements made, particularly in the lacklustre forward area. Liverpool fans worldwide went berserk with the news, as recent reports were emerging that the Brazilian was unhappy at the club. A merry look portrayed across his face in the above pictures quickly diminished any lingering concerns, as I recount the 22-year old’s top five moments at the club thus far, including areas that further need improving from his part.
5. Glorious ‘chip assist’ for Raheem against West Ham
We begin our countdown with the most recent of ‘Philippe Coutinho brilliance’ against West ham at Anfield the other week. The ball was chested down to the Brazilian by Raheem, who returned the favour by producing a world class chip in to the box to the Englishman, who made no mistake in making the score 1-0.
The 22-year old was not finished there however, as he played in the returning Daniel Sturridge, who slotted home and ultimately killed the game off, resulting into the youngster being rightfully named ‘man of the match’.
4. Coutinho trots all over Bolton
An intense FA Cup encounter between Liverpool and Bolton seemed destined to head into extra time and, if possible, penalties, until a moment of brilliance from the Brazilian meant an early shower for the red men, and ultimately more rest for their next fixture. As the 90 minute mark ticked over, Henderson made a run past a defender towards the box and played it to Coutinho, who made one step forward and produced a thunderbolt of a shot, that swerved left, right and centre before nestling above Lonergan in the Bolton net. The Kop erupted and Philippe celebrated his new contract in style by guiding his Liverpool side into the fifth round of the FA Cup.
3. Keeping Warm In Bulgaria
We now take a slightly more comical look at the ‘ever-so-serious’ Philippe Coutinho. As we see in the video below, little Coutinho’s ball game is as strong off the pitch as it is on it. I bet the Messis and Ronaldos of the footballing world cannot come close to matching the skills shown here by the 22 year old, on a cold and windy night in Bulgaria, huh?
2. Phil Dazzles St. James’ Park
Runner up to the most obvious of winners is the Brazilian’s exhilarating performance in Liverpool’s 6-0 rout of the Geordies two seasons ago. The Brazilian was on fire yet again as he teed-up both Sturridge and Henderson to net, en-route to the demolition.
“Look at his strength for the third goal, where he out-muscles Hatem Ben Arfa on the line and then dinks the ball between two defenders.”
Rodgers was not shy of admiration for Phil, especially after the first of his assists, a brilliant manoeuvre where he looks one way and then beautifully chips the ball the other, through a number of defenders to play Sturridge in. The icing on the cake missing from this performance was a goal to reward the youngsters’ efforts.
1. THAT Winner Against Manchester City
It is many a reds’ fans best ever footballing moment, therefore its only fitting to be rewarded as Coutinho’s greatest accolade. The 80-minute mark was fast approaching in a match between two title rivals. The score showed a Desmond at 2-2, as the reds attacked looking for that winner that would ultimately guide them to the league title. (Or so we thought). That winner arrived from the young magician, who latched on to a poor clearance from Kompany to rifle a stunning volley past a hapless Joe Hart from outside the box. Anfield erupted as the match ended 3-2, sending Liverpool five points clear at the summit.
I will not recount how the rest of the season panned out, however Phil’s striker will no doubt live long in the memory as one of the top Anfield moments.
A ‘bad habit’ that, if cut out, would prove a colossal aid to himself and his fellow compatriots up-front. The Brazilian tries his luck from outside the box on far too many occasions, the majority of which end up in the Kop, or straight at the opposition keeper. (If you count out his last-minute wonder striker against Bolton the other week). It may be his Brazilian genes kicking in, who knows. One thing’s for certain, if Coutinho looks up from time to time and does play that final pass through to a strike partner of his, instead of ‘hitting and hoping’, the 22 year old will be nothing short of unstoppable, and will accumulate many more assists in the process.
– The man needs some muscle. He disappears for large parts of matches on occasions.
In contrast to Emre Can, who makes his presence known here, there, and everywhere with his massive stature, Philippe tends to go missing at times due to his tiny frame and inability to out-muscle opposing players. What he misses in strength, he makes up for in creativity and skill, an abundance of that, as a matter of fact. However, in a league as fierce as the Premier League, one has got to possess both the strength and power in order to cope, and I reckon further experience and maturing will aid the Brazilian in this factor.
Lionel Messi is one of the world’s greatest at the moment, however I strain my point that in a league such as the English one, he would struggle to cope physically. The same applies for our little magician, a minor tweak that should be improved by experience.At the tender age of 22, Philippe Coutinho possesses all the attributes, and then some, to transform into one of world football’s greatest. Brendan’s Liverpool are extremely fortunate to have him tied down in our ranks for another five years at least, and if the tricky Brazilian does continue to wow us with his skill on the ball, and fix one or two minor, but essential tweaks to his game, he will undoubtedly prove to be monumental in Liverpool’s rise to the top under Brendan Rodgers.For the time being, let us enjoy the ever-famous ‘Ole’ chant that is belted throughout Anfield each and every time the magician produces one of many of his unique set of magic tricks.