As football fans, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the players we cheer on are in fact people. As such, there tends to be little time spared for the influence life off the pitch can have on a player's performance, effectively ignoring the largest part of the athletes' lives. Playing for x club and getting paid y money should translate into quality on the pitch, and that's that.
Cognitively, we know this doesn't make sense, of course. Happy people who enjoy harmonious home and work lives are more likely to perform well at their job, and as far as it can be done, club's should strive to make sure this is the case for their players, and fans should cut them some slack.
Jürgen Klopp subscribes to the family values paradigm, and has made it known on several occasions. He can only do so much, however, and if the players can lend him a hand by creating a welcoming atmosphere for new arrivals, particularly those transferring from different leagues, countries and cultures, then the club will be better for it.
Philippe Coutinho can confirm that being taken under the wing of a compatriot has made an impact on his life with the Reds.
“Since I arrived at the club it’s been very important - it was important to have Lucas here at the time I first came as he speaks the same language as me,” Coutinho when asked about the presence of other Brazilians on Merseyside.
“He’s been at Liverpool for 10 years and he’d already been here six or seven years when I joined and he knows the city very well, so yes it’s very important that we’ve got a group of Brazilians here and that we can speak our language to each other. That makes it very good.
“We bring a little bit of Brazil to Liverpool," he continued. "At home I eat Brazilian foods, I have friends who come over to visit me and they bring things for me - typical foods from Brazil.
“And of course we’ve also got very good Brazilian restaurants in this city as well. I enjoy listening to Brazilian music too, although Roberto is much more the music man. He’s the guy who tends to put the music on, but we also have a lot of Spanish music too.”
With the Reds unable to produce the same revenue as some of their competitors, affecting their ability to compete with the top spenders in terms of transfer fees and wages, intangibles such as the offer of a safe, familiar atmosphere could potentially be the deciding factor when attempting to bring in a new player, as well as cause for that player to thrive. Any advantage must be maximised, and if it is one that gives us more moments like this, then it becomes even more important.