Liverpool fans will have very mixed feelings after seeing Philippe Coutinho score a magnificent hat-trick for Brazil against Haiti in Copa America on Thursday morning.
On one hand, they will be delighted for their player who has deservedly earned his place in the Brazilian squad and will be pleased to see him produce the goods on the international stage.
However, on the other hand, there has been plenty of interest in the midfielder, if reports are to be believed, with both Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona keen to sign him and this kind of performance will only heighten that that interest.
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And it’s not difficult to understand why Coutinho is attracting interest given the quality of his hat-trick in Brazil’s 7-1 victory.
The 23-year-old opened the scoring with a terrific strike from outside the box after just 14-minutes. He doubled the lead 15 minutes later - although this was a tap-in after a defensive mix-up.
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But his hat-trick goal in stoppage time was the best of the lot. His jinking run fooled defenders before curling the ball into the top corner to round off an incredible night.
Watch the video below to see Coutinho’s hat-trick:
Or, if you want to watch the entire highlights:
After the match, Brazil manager Dunga revealed that they had been urging Coutinho to produce the performances he does for Liverpool for his native country.
“We have been encouraging Coutinho during training to be the player he is in Liverpool, take advantage of his opportunities, and he did that for us,” Dunga said.
“He has been acquiring more trust and belief in himself and taking more risks. That is what we wanted.”
The win puts Brazil in pole position to win their group as Ecuador and Peru could only draw 2-2. A draw in their final fixture will likely be enough to see Brazil progress as top spot as they seek to win their first Copa America since 2007.
But Coutinho isn’t prepared to get carried away, instead, he insists they are just focusing on their fixture against Peru.
“We had a good game and are leaving here happy,” Coutinho said. “We have to keep our focus for the next game [against Peru]. We have to be dreaming about big things, but we also have to prepare well for the next game. Peru is a very strong team.”