The Brazilian was seen as a bright star and an ideal replacement of Andres Iniesta.
It’s been close to a year since Coutinho joined Barcelona. Coutinho’s arrival made Barcelona fans think they might win the Champions League. However, fortunes changed. Liverpool made to the final of Champions League last season without Coutinho and whereas Barcelona for the second time were out of the competition in the quarter finals. The Brazilian this season was expected to perform good but so far has failed to do it. Here’s why the former Liverpool star is struggling at Nou Camp.
Coutinho is struggling at Nou Camp whereas his former teammates are unbeaten and top of the Premier League. The Spanish press have the knives out for the 26-year-old nearly a year after his club-record £146m switch. While his move to the Camp Nou was always inevitable despite Jurgen Klopp’s denials this time last year, many warned at the time he was walking away from something potentially big. Barcelona may not be faltering at home or in Europe. But the general feeling in Catalonia is that Coutinho has been a bystander.
Respected Spanish journalist Manolo Crespo has outlined why Coutinho has struggled for Sport. He wrote, “Philippe Coutinho is not passing through his best moment of form at the moment. But the truth is it’s difficult to find when the Brazilian has been important for Barcelona in a long period of team.” He said Barcelona is waiting to see the Brazilian take a step forward.
Crespo told, “The team is still waiting for Coutino to take a step forward, like he did at the World Cup when Neymar wasn’t fully fit. When Lionel Messi was injured this season, Luis Suarez came to the rescue. Philippe cowered. You have to go back to the end of October for his last goal.”
He also said how Ousmane Dembele replaced him despite his off field issues. Cresp wrote, “Secondly, Ousmane Dembele. Despite his indiscipline problems and his youthful mistake, he’s taken Coutinho’s place with his goals and his decisive performances.”
It’s still not cleared where Valverde wants Coutinho to play. At Liverpool and Brazil his position was fixed. At Barcelona, he’s playing in midfield and on the flanks as well. Coutinho needs time and injection of confidence.