It must be a difficult task for a club legend to remain impartial whilst being a television pundit during a match including your former side.
It must be even harder when your former side are humbled by their arch-rivals and you’ve got to sit there praising the opposition.
But that was the case last night for Paul Scholes who saw his Manchester United side beaten 2-0 by Liverpool in their Europa League clash.
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Scholes played 19 seasons at Old Trafford and loved to hate the Merseysiders.
After seeing the Reds overcome a disjointed United side, he didn’t hold back in criticising his club.
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"Liverpool had a way of playing. United didn't have a clue," he said whilst appearing on BT Sport.
"Manchester United should be competing to win the Premier League and Champions League every season. They have spent £300m and they are sixth in the league.
"They have ended up in the Europa League after failing in a poor Champions League group. They should be competing with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.”
Praise for one Liverpool player
But when he’d finally finished laying into Manchester United, Scholes turned his attention to Liverpool, and one player in particular.
"I thought Coutinho was brilliant tonight. Sensational,” the former midfielder said.
It must have been tough to praise a rival but Scholes doesn’t mix his words when being a pundit. He’s very honest and says exactly what he thinks.
However, you can’t help but think if he had been playing against Coutinho on Thursday, the Brazilian would have been scathed down by one of Scholes’ mistimed tackles.
The 23-year-old has proved to be an incredible signing for just £8.5 million in January 2013 from Inter Milan.
The attacking midfielder has dazzled Kopites with his brilliant ball control and footwork over the previous three and a half seasons.
One thing that is preventing Coutinho from being dubbed world-class is his goalscoring tally. He has managed just 23 goals in 131 appearances in all competitions and his lack of finishing ability could be seen during Thursday’s victory over United.
In the first-half, Daniel Sturridge’s screwed shot found its way to Coutinho on the back post but he somehow allowed David de Gea to make a save, despite only being two yards out.
However, his performance contributed to an excellent evening for the Reds as they took a big step towards the last-eight of the competition.
But, a player of Coutinho’s quality should be wanting to play in Europe’s elite competition every year and, unless his side can win the Europa League this season, he will have to make do without Champions League football for the second consecutive campaign.
Liverpool fans: Do you think Philippe Coutinho can go on and become a world-class talent? Let us know in the comments box below!
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