No Liverpool player has been named man of the match more often this season than Philippe Coutinho. He’s won player of the month honours on three occasions and is the early frontrunner to bag a fourth title for April, while no teammate has won it more than once. He’s the current frontrunner to be named the club’s player of the season, and it’s not even close.
His stellar performance against Newcastle on Monday night, then, was really just par for the course for the 22-year-old Brazilian who has come into his own for Liverpool following the departure of Luis Suarez and with star striker Daniel Sturridge continuing to struggle with injury issues. There are arguments to be made the foundation provided by Martin Skrtel, Lucas Leiva, and Simon Mignolet has been more important to the club’s turnaround, and many will insist Raheem Sterling is Liverpool's biggest talent, but as it has been all season, last night’s star was the little Brazilian.
He started out the evening leading the line, something that was first seen in the autumn but that, at the time, hadn’t worked out all that well. Whether this time around it was a case of the opposition being worse, or whether it was simply a reflection of his ever growing confidence, against Newcastle he looked far more dangerous as a false nine. Some of that was down to a willingness by Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson to charge past him in attack, something that hadn’t been happening in the autumn, but mostly it was down to Coutinho’s vision and quick feet.
Later, he dropped back into a midfield role and provided just as much cutting edge, and the chances he created for his teammates really should have led to a far more comfortable margin of victory.
Video by MrBoywunder