Philippe Coutinho may have upset Liverpool supporters when he submitted a transfer request in the summer but they were ready to forgive him on Saturday.
The Brazilian whipped in a wonderful free-kick en route to Liverpool’s entertaining 3-2 win against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
And his celebration showed that he’s no longer a player dreaming of a move to Barcelona.
The 25-year-old was the subject of three bids from the Spanish giants, all of which were rejected.
Coutinho continued to draw criticism when he appeared for Brazil despite a reported back injury keeping him out of action for Liverpool.
But the Reds know how important Coutinho is to their hopes of a successful season and it explains why they’ve welcomed him back with open arms.
His 25-yard free-kick against the Foxes was a thing of beauty, and a reminder of why Barcelona pursued him so heavily.
Gerrard 'hated' going up against Coutinho
Steven Gerrard had the privilege of playing with Coutinho before moving on to LA Galaxy but that meant going up against him in training, something the former England international “hated”.
Gerrard revealed after Liverpool’s win on Saturday that he didn’t go near Coutinho in training for fear of being embarrassed.
“He is impossible to defend against sometimes,” Gerrard told BT Sport, per the Mail. “When I used to train with him, I hated being in the opposition five-a-side, I wouldn't go near him.
“I’d say to him, ‘keep away from me’, because he can embarrass you. He's two or three steps ahead of defenders, he is so clever.”
It says a lot about how much Liverpool value Coutinho that they were ready to reject a bid of more than £100 million for him.
Sitting alongside Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand said the Anfield club have performed a “miracle” in keeping onto the playmaker.
“Liverpool have produced a miracle in keeping him, considering what was on offer in terms of his fee, and the personal terms we see in the media,” Ferdinand said.
“He could have gone to a club to play alongside Messi and Suarez, and Liverpool have pulled off nothing short of a miracle.
“He creates moments that inspire not a team, but whole stadiums, and he does things which take your breath away.”
For a neutral, it’s brilliant to watch. But as Gerrard pointed out, it can be a nightmare going up against Coutinho.
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