Football

Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho.

Philippe Coutinho's impressive highlight reel from Barcelona 3-0 Eibar

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Philippe Coutinho's reputation at Barcelona a year on from his move from Liverpool is probably not what he expected it to be.

The Brazilian made it very clear that it was his dream to play at the Nou Camp and he started off very well with the Blaugrana.

Coutinho managed eight goals and five assists in 18 La Liga games last season, but has managed just four goals and two assists in 2018/19.

Injuries haven't helped, with Ousmane Dembele thriving in his absence alongside Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.

However, after reports linking him with a move to Manchester United and the Spanish media saying Coutinho was at 'rock bottom', Ernesto Valverde handed him a surprise start against Eibar.

A chance for some redemption for the £142m playmaker and one that he certainly took at the Nou Camp.

Coutinho provided a sumptuous assist for Suarez's opening goal and was a constant threat from the left-wing.

You can watch his full highlights from the 3-0 win below.

COUTINHO SHINES ON HIS RETURN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyIGjMyOrG4

That's the man Barca splashed the cash on last January.

If the Blaugrana can get Coutinho playing to that standard on a regular basis, their chances of landing trophies will be increased further.

Coutinho may not be an archetypal La Masia-type midfielder like Andres Iniesta or Xavi Hernandez, but his skill set is ideal for Valverde's side.

He can beat defenders for fun, has a great passing range and offers one of the finest long shots in world football.

Coutinho in action

"He [Coutinho] is a player who gave us a lot, who gives us a lot and who'll have to give a lot," Valverde said after the game, per Marca.

"He played as there are other players who had to rest in this week with three matches. He has incredible quality."

His performance against Eibar may prove to be a pivotal moment in the 27-year-old's Barca career.

Topics:
Football
Ernesto Valverde
Ousmane Dembele
Philippe Coutinho
La Liga
Barcelona
Lionel Messi
Luis Suarez
Liverpool

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