Coutinho Shines in Merseyside Derby

Philippe CoutinhoPhilippe Coutinho

In a derby that has somewhat lost some of its fierceness down the years, Liverpool’s little magician was at the centre of the action in a fine home performance for the Reds.

It was the midfielder’s combination of skill with brains that an inexperienced Everton defence simply couldn’t handle.

A cunning decoy run allowed Mane the time and space to power through the away side’s back four and give his side the lead before Coutinho himself worked his magic to score Liverpool’s second of the day.

His surging run allowed him to ease past two Everton players and curl a stunning strike past Robles in goal while providing the assist for the Origi clincher.

The attacker could have added another but for fine goalkeeping from Robles, yet it was his constant threat going forward that awarded him the man of the match.

Quick feet and a sharp sense of vision created an imposing danger down Liverpool’s left-hand side all afternoon, with Coutinho an endless outlet for as the away side began to create pressure as they came back into the game.

He particularly impressed in a Liverpool front three with Firmino and Mane, controlling the left-hand side of the trio yet a continuous figure in their fantastic link up play.

The Brazilian star was finally substituted towards the latter stages of the game, with a deserved standing ovation and rapturous applause ringing around Anfield.

Klopp conveyed his knowledge by replacing the attacker as the game looked comfortable, with Coutinho showing signs of his tiredness from his trip to South America, in which he helped Brazil become the first nation to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Coutinho, along with international team-mate Firmino, were flown back from Brazilian duty on a private jet, and so the club will certainly feel their decision paid off as the pair, especially Coutinho, returned to form in style.

Liverpool’s star has now scored in his past two Merseyside derbies, while now has six Premier League assists this season, nearing his best tally of seven in the 2013-14 campaign.

The number 10 has had a stop-start campaign so far but has seemingly hit good form at a brilliant time for his club. Liverpool will be without Mane for certainly the near future, and his teammate stepped up and proved his ability to shine in important games.

The magician will undoubtedly require a similar performance in the midweek test at home to Bournemouth, before two tough fixtures away from home at Stoke and West Brom.