What Coutinho Brings to Barcelona

Phillipe Coutinho has undoubtedly been one of Liverpool’s best players in the past few years, but sadly, the Brazilian magician is on his way out of Anfield having secured a £142m move to Barcelona.

Barcelona, for many players, are simply impossible to turn down as evidenced by Coutinho’s decision to swap Liverpool for the Blaugrana.

Despite having three offers rejected by Liverpool last summer, the Blaugrana somewhat surprisingly succeeded in acquiring Coutinho’s signature as Ernesto Valverde makes a spirited attempt to craft a side capable of maintaining Barca’s place at the pinnacle of the beautiful game.

The bids during the last transfer window certainly left Coutinho with a lot to think about, as reports about the 25-year-old being unsettled emerged but quickly died down following his stellar performances in the first half of the season.

Going into the 2017/18 season, pundits and fans alike coined this Barca side one of the weakest ever following Neymar’s exit as well as Iniesta’s decline. The acquisition of Paulinho did nothing but give the naysayers more things to talk about, but thus far, Ernesto Valverde has done a great job of proving the doubters wrong.

Paulinho has played a pivotal role in Barcelona’s midfield this term having scored six goals and registered 2 assists thus far – he also boasts of an 88% pass completion rate while Iniesta has also been decent this season despite his decline.

With the addition of Coutinho, Barca fans will be more confident in their side’s ability to retain top spot in La Liga before ultimately lifting the title in May.

The 25-year-old could fill the void left by Neymar and feature alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in what could be the most phenomenal trio since the fearsome MSN.

Should Coutinho be deployed in the left side of a front three, he’ll most likely assume the mantle of Barca’s main creative force, just like Neymar did last season.

Before the completion of his move to Barcelona, Coutinho had registered six assists for Liverpool in 14 games. He also averaged a goal every two games having notched seven of them thus highlighting his ability in front of goal.

Coutinho is a technically gifted footballer with a penchant for spectacular goals. His ability to find the back of the net from a distance has proved invaluable to Liverpool over the past fw seasons, and Barcelona could even reap the benefits of his powerful shooting ability even more as Coutinho is likely to find himself with more goalscoring opportunities than he had in the Premier League.

Having gotten accustomed to the Premier League’s physical demands, the skilful Brazilian is unlikely to have any problems adapting to La Liga which is a tad less physical than the English top flight. He’ll probably fit right into Barca considering the team’s level of fluidity is similar to Liverpool’s.

At £142m, Barca may have overpaid for Coutinho but considering the current state of the transfer market, it’s a fair fee given the likes of Eden Hazard and Harry Kane could be shipped off for more in the future.

By the looks of it, Coutinho’s acquisition will result in a substantial increase in Barcelona’s attacking output, but it remains to be seen if he can out-perform Neymar should he be utilised in his compatriot’s former position on the left flank.

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Phillip Ekuwem
Phillip is a freelance football writer with a keen interest in European football. His work can be found on the Daily Mirror, Planet Football, Football.London, Football Whispers, Tribal Football et al.

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