Lost in the hubbub of Steven Gerrard's final Anfield match was the announcement that Philippe Coutinho had been awarded the Golden Samba for winning a fan poll identifying Liverpool's player of the year. And by announcement, we mean no announcement whatsoever, merely a photo of the young Brazilian with his prize and his wife post-match that the player posted without much fanfare on Instagram later on.
The Golden Samba was first awarded in 2011 after members of Liverpool FC forum The Rattle chose to award that year's recipient, Lucas Leiva, with something tangible for winning their player of the year poll. Given away every year since then, the Golden Samba is the only fan award given to a player outside of the club's official award-giving mechanisms.
Although Simon Mignolet certainly could have given him a run for his money — and indeed won the Liverpool Former Players Association's player of the year award — Coutinho's form has been a bright spot in an otherwise not-so-bright season for Liverpool fans. Though being named to the PFA Team of the Year might feel more "official", there's no doubt that winning something voted on by Liverpool fans alone rather than his peers feels just as special to the wee Brazilian.