Football

Philippe Coutinho.

Philippe Coutinho's highlights v Maribor show why Liverpool need to play him in the free role

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Liverpool strolled to success in Slovenia on Tuesday night with a thumping 7-0 win over Maribor in the Champions League.

Jurgen Klopp's men only had one win in eight prior to the resounding victory, but the Reds were firing on all cylinders this time out and they didn't even have Sadio Mane involved.

Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino both netted braces for their troubles while Trent Alexander-Arnold, Philippe Coutinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain rounded off the scoring.

Liverpool might consider themselves lucky to still have the services of Coutinho after serious summer interest from Barcelona in the Brazilian playmaker.

The Reds resisted several huge-money offers for their star man and some fans and pundits worried that his heart might not be in Merseyside after the collapse of his dream move.

However, his performance last night should go some way to dispelling that notion. Although the former Inter Milan man was positioned on the left-side of the front three, he floated inside and flourished in a free role.

As you can see from the highlights below, nearly everything Coutinho touches turns into a chance. Maribor might not be the very top calibre of opponent - with all due respect - but Coutinho truly ran the show:

Klopp will hope his main man can now go from strength to strength and rediscover the form that drew interest from Barcelona in the first place.

As you can see from his heat map of the game against Maribor below, Coutinho was roaming around everywhere and is clearly committed to the cause at Anfield.

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However, former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey believes it's only a matter of time before the 25-year-old eventually moves to Barca.

He told sportingbet.com: "I don't think Coutinho should leave Liverpool, but I think he will go to Barcelona.

"Every player in the Premier League would have their head turned by Barcelona or Real Madrid, they're two huge clubs. When those clubs show interest, players have to entertain that move."

FBL-EUR-C1-NK MARIBOR-LIVERPOOL

If Liverpool can kick on this season and make some important moves next summer, why wouldn't Coutinho see the job through with the Reds?

Klopp will have to hope the allure of Barca fades alongside the rise of Liverpool.

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Topics:
Philippe Coutinho
Fernando Torres
Football

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