Philippe Coutinho looks over his back injury with sumptuous Brazil goal
Notably, a diplomatic back injury has kept Philippe Coutinho out of a Liverpool shirt this season, but the goalscoring midfielder looked in fine fettle during Brazil’s World Cup qualifier against Ecuador.
A second-half substitute, Coutinho scored Brazil’s second after an inventive piece of link-up play between the Barcelona target and Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus.
Receiving the ball in the midfield, Coutinho drove at a back-peddling Ecuddor rearguard before picking out Gabriel with a chipped pass over the top.
The forward then teed himself up to head back into Coutinho’s path who tucked home to secure a 2-0 victory in Porto Alegre.
Barcelona have aggressively targeted Coutinho since losing his compatriot Neymar to Paris Saint Germain, but the English transfer deadline has now passed.
Coutinho scored Brazil’s second against Ecuador CREDIT: AP
Liverpool fans rejoicing at the news might want to put their celebrations on hold, because the Spanish window remains open until 11pm on Friday night. Theoretically, Barcelona could still get their man.
However, Liverpool’s owners FSG have insisted Coutinho is not for sale and reportedly rejected a £138 million offer for the player.
Liverpool missed out on target Thomas Lemar, who was also subject to a late move by Arsenal, and Coutinho is expected to be reintegrated in the squad.
Jurgen Klopp’s front-three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have been the Premier League’s most threatening forward line, so Coutinho might have to play in a deeper role.
Klopp employed Coutinho in central midfield in their last few games of last season, though there is added competition there too following the purchase of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has been promised games there.