With two well-taken goals and a stunning assist, Philippe Coutinho was yet again deserving of Liverpool’s Man of the Match award against West Ham. The 4-0 thumping brought a Champions League spot back into Liverpool’s hands, and was unquestionably one of their best performances in a somewhat stuttered season. After the hosts crushed Spurs’ title hopes last week, the Reds knew that this would certainly be no walkover, but the away side eased past a poor showing by a weakened West Ham side.
Coutinho was of course the stand-out performer as he once again stepped up in another important game for his club. The little magician was at the centre of every Liverpool attack, and made sure he found the net when given the opportunity.
It was very much a tale of the two number tens, with Coutinho the main danger for the away side and Manuel Lanzini the centrepiece of the home side’s attacking threat. The early stages of the game witnessed the latter causing several problems for the visiting defenders, yet as Liverpool began to run riot in the second half, so did Coutinho.
Just after the half-hour mark, the Brazilian picked out an unmarked Daniel Sturridge with one of the passes of the season. His creative mindset was very much of use with the perfectly weighted through ball to Sturridge, who then finished with ease before rightfully thanking his teammate for the sensational pass.
Coutinho then bagged two of his own within four minutes of each other, with both goals conveying his sublime skill set that has won his side so many vital points this season. After Gini Wijnaldum’s long range effort cannoned off the bar, Coutinho was foolishly allowed time and space to drive forward and drill a low shot into the bottom corner for his first. Minutes later he completed the brace after fine footwork in the West Ham box created space to allow him to smash the ball home.
His simply magic display mesmerised both sets of fans, with many travelling Liverpool fans extremely grateful their beloved attacker was on form in a potentially season-defining match.
Significant statistics arising from the game include the fact that Coutinho was directly involved in three goals in a single game for Liverpool for the first time (two goals and one assist), and furthermore all three of his Premier League braces have come in London (Chelsea in Oct 2015 and Arsenal in Aug 2016).
Manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted consistency will not slip into the club’s approach to the vital home showdown with relegated Middlesbrough on the last day of the season, and the German will require a similar performance from his star man if Liverpool are to eventually qualify for the Champions League.