Belfast Telegraph

Philippe Coutinho in focus

Philippe Coutinho was only fit enough for the bench against Stoke but the Brazil playmaker was back in the Liverpool starting line-up at West Brom on Sunday.

His influence was not as pronounced as it was last weekend at the bet365 Stadium, when his introduction as a substitute brought a goal and coincided with an improved display from the Reds, but he helped Jurgen Klopp's team to a 1-0 win which saw them regain third place in the Premier League.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a close look at Coutinho's performance at The Hawthorns.


Liverpool lacked fluency, especially in the first half, and Coutinho found it difficult to be effective. He occasionally dropped too deep, making the gap between himself and Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi too big.

The one time he really got on the ball was in the 15th minute when he i ntercepted a pass in midfield before advancing towards the penalty area and threading a pass behind the West Brom defence for Firmino, who put his left-footed shot just wide of the far post from the left side of the box.


After finding it difficult to get involved and barely touching the ball for the opening quarter of an hour, Coutinho began dropping deeper to make himself available. This actually made him less effective and West Brom will have been pleased to see him so far away from their penalty area.

When he returned higher up the field in the final third his runs off the ball were intelligent but Liverpool did not have the craft and guile in their midfield to pick him out.


Opportunities were limited for the Brazil international but he did get three sights of goal. The first was probably the best but it was also a difficult chance to control at full stretch. Coutinho got on the end of Firmino's cross and sent a left-footed volley wide of the far post from a narrow angle.

His other two attempts saw him miss the target by some way. He cut inside from the left-hand side and curled an effort past the same post later in the first half before sending another shot over the crossbar just after the hour mark.


It will have been a frustrating afternoon for Coutinho. Occasionally his body language showed this but his attitude never wavered.


From Belfast Telegraph