There aren’t many Liverpool players that can be said to have enhanced their reputations amid the club’s troubled adaptation to life post-Luis Suarez.
Daniel Sturridge in his injury absence possibly…
Raheem Sterling at a push.
However, the Reds’ Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been quietly enhancing his standing with some industrious showings after a quiet start.
Liverpool are now 5/1 third-favourites for the Capital One Cup after the former-Internazionale schemer’s fourth consecutive showing as their best player on the pitch coincided with a 2-1 victory over 2012 winners Swansea last night.
That his standing in the attacking-midfield pantheon is on the rise can be gleaned from the fact that he earned his first Brazil cap during the mid-October international break, setting up Neymar’s second goal in a 4-0 victory over Japan.
If his performances before that Selecao sojourn had not quickened the heart to the point of dizziness, then it cannot be argued that he has returned rejuvenated by the experience.
Liverpool had him to thank for getting them out of jail against a spirited Queens Park Rangers after he emerged from the bench in the 66th minute of their 3-2 win.
With the Reds’ backs to the wall he produced not one, but two moments of superb, quick-thinking quality, first firing in from the edge of the box before retaining the final-seconds wherewithal to unleash Raheem Sterling from deep for the winner.
Thereafter he was much Brendan Rodgers’ finest representative against Real Madrid, before the Northern Irishman inexplicably gave him the 66th-minute hook.
Mystifyingly he was returned to the bench for the visit of Hull, yet once again Liverpool’s attack improved immeasurably when the number ten entered the fray.
Having managed eight shots and 11 crosses in the hour before his arrival, they produced nine attempts on goal and 22 centres during his 29-minute cameo as creative fulcrum.