Despite promising performances for Liverpool in the past two seasons, Philippe Coutinho had previously found it difficult to break into the Brazil senior squad. Given the amount of talent, especially in the forward midfield areas, that's no surprise, but Coutinho was on the outside looking in even as he impressed on Merseyside. Having been omitted from last summer's World Cup squad, the 2015 Copa America provided the first chance for Coutinho to impress in a major competition.
After missing the opener due to injury, there was concern that it might be another missed opportunity for the 23-year-old, but manager Dunga has featured Coutinho in every match since. The playmaker has been among Brazil's more consistent at a tournament in which the World Cup semifinalists have mostly underwhelmed. Their loss against Paraguay was another disappointing display, but for Coutinho, it was his best all week.
Liverpool supporters will have been looking forward to watching he and Roberto Firmino link up, but with the latter struggling to have much of an impact, it was Coutinho who proved the bright spot. A few moments of skill caught the eye, and overall he was one of their best on the night, looking dangerous in possession and working hard throughout. And, in a penalty shootout in which more than a few lost their heads, he proved calm and composed, slotting his effort with minimum fuss.
The loss means his time in Chile is over, but he should have done enough to secure a spot in the senior squad going forward, which, after missing out on the World Cup last summer, will be exactly what he'd hoped for.
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