When Liverpool signed 20-year-old Philippe Coutinho for £8.5 million in January 2013, many of their fans were probably asking ‘Who?’
Three-and-a-half years later and the Brazilian is of the club’s most important players and looks an absolute bargain in the modern-day transfer market.
The playmaker wowed the Anfield faithful upon his arrival with his incredible footwork which opened up the opposition defence and created countless chances for the Reds.
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However, by the end of the 2014/15 campaign, Coutinho had only scored 16 goals in 102 appearances for Liverpool - an unimpressive return for an attacking midfielder.
But it seems as though the 24-year-old is working hard on improving that aspect of his game as he managed 12 goals in all competitions last season. And this campaign, he’s already notched four in seven appearances.
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While he may not be the most prolific goalscorer, Coutinho has shown an ability to score spectacular - and important - goals.
If given a few yards of space outside the box, Coutinho doesn’t think twice about letting rip with a long-range effort - and it often hits the back of the net.
But which one of his 31 goals for Liverpool is his favourite?
"It’s not easy to pick one because every goal is so special to me,” Coutinho told the Liverpool Echo.
“It’s difficult to describe the feeling of scoring. But if I had to pick one then I’d go for the goal at Old Trafford last season. That was a nice goal against United.
“It came at an important point in the game against one of our big rivals and it swung the tie in our favour.
“My wife was there watching and she told me that our supporters were singing my name throughout half-time. That was great to hear.”
The goal Coutinho is describing is, of course, his individual effort against Liverpool’s arch-rivals in the Europa League.
Liverpool had beaten United 2-0 in the first-leg at Anfield of the last-16 clash but were trailing 1-0 in the opening 45 minutes at Old Trafford. However, in first-half stoppage-time, Coutinho skipped around Guillermo Varela and dinked the ball over David de Gea to effectively kill off the tie.
Here is the goal in case you’ve can’t quite remember it:
It certainly wasn’t as spectacular as one of his 30-yarders but it was a brilliant individual effort nonetheless. But Liverpool supporters will definitely appreciate the fact that Coutinho has recognised how important it is to get the better of United.
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