With Blackburn setting up to frustrate and Liverpool often struggling to create, it wasn’t a night to change a month of narratives about negative play and poor form for the visiting Reds. In the end, though, it was a win. And a massive win at that, one that takes Liverpool to Wembley for a semi-final date with Aston Villa.
While Simon Mignolet rightly will get much of the credit for a series of stellar stops that kept Liverpool from falling behind, at the other end of the pitch the praise has almost wholly been reserved for Philippe Coutinho. Giving freedom to roam in from a not-quite wide right role, the little Brazilian’s big moment will obviously have been the winning goal.
It wasn’t his only good moment. While his fellow midfielders and forwards spent much of the night fighting a heavy touch and holding the ball too long, Coutinho was one of the few—perhaps the only—Liverpool player to consistently threaten Blackburn. While Sturridge and Sterling and Allen seemed to battle the ball, Coutinho was a consistent bright spot.
Not perfect, perhaps, as he couldn’t entirely escape the malaise of misplaced passes and misjudged dribbles that have plagued Liverpool following what at the time seemed a statement victory over Manchester City. But on a night when it was easy to pick at the flaws in Liverpool’s performance despite the win, Coutinho stood out in a positive light.
Video by MrBoyWunder