Brazil coach Tite recently admitted he could understand why Liverpool fans call Philippe Coutinho “the magician”.
Coutinho has developed into one of the finest players in Europe this season, his performances prompting rumours of a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona.
Tite is also fully aware that Coutinho is fast becoming one of the Selecao’s most important players. A front three of Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and Neymar may not be on the same level as Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, but it’s certainly an enviable attacking trio.
It was Jesus who grabbed the headlines last night, the Manchester City-bound striker scoring one and setting up the other as Brazil beat Peru 2-0 to enhance their bid to reach the 2018 World Cup.
But that didn’t stop Coutinho putting on a show.
The 24-year-old scored a stunner against Argentina six days ago but last night it was all about showing off his box of tricks.
Coutinho produced a neat roulette to escape from two Peru defenders before passing the ball out wide.
Xavi's a big fan
Coutinho is enjoying easily the best form of his career for both club and country. The Brazilian has helped fire Liverpool to the top of the Premier League with five goals and five assists and his scintillating displays haven’t gone unnoticed by Barcelona hero Xavi.
"Coutinho is a player I have always thought is special - but under [Jurgen] Klopp he has gone up another level," Xavi told Goal. On form there are not any better midfield players in Europe.
“He has always shown quality but now he is consistently playing well and that is good news for Liverpool if they want to really challenge for the title.
“He is playing under one of the most intelligent coaches in Europe. Klopp has a lot of experience at developing world-class players, so it is a good club for him to be at.”
The road to Russia
Brazil’s win was their sixth straight and increased their lead at the top of the South American qualification standings to four points. It would take something of a miracle for Tite’s side to miss out on Russia.
The Selecao didn’t manage to go all the way in their home tournament two years ago but the team looks better equipped to challenge now. It says a lot about the talent in Brazil’s side that Chelsea star Willian has to rely on making appearances from the bench.
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