A lot what was expected from Philippe Coutinho when the Brazilian playmaker made his much-talked about move to Barcelona from Liverpool for a hefty price tag of £143m in January 2018.
The Brazilian was heralded as the long-term heir apparent of the magical Andres Iniesta while also being hailed as the next poster boy for the Catalan giants following the unexpected departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain.
Coutinho’s start to life in Barcelona colours in January last year was electric with the Brazilian more than justifying his price tag with some important goals and assists to his name. However, one year later, it has all gone pear-shaped for the playmaker with his Barcelona future now under a massive dark cloud.
The goals and assists have dried up from Coutinho’s end with the Camp Nou faithful also turning on the Brazilian. The former Liverpool man has found himself fall behind in Ernesto Valverde’s pecking order with the arrival of Ousmane Dembele. This has led to reduction in game time for
While the lack of minutes is an issue for Coutinho, he has done himself no favours when given the opportunity by Valverde and is now in danger of being overtaken in the pecking order by his compatriot Malcom.
Since scoring against Real Madrid in the El Clasico held at October last year, Coutinho has failed to find the net even once in La Liga while only generating the solitary assist. In the Champions League, the Brazilian has just the one goal in his last six appearances and that came during Barcelona’s 5-1 win over Lyon in the second-leg of the Champions League round of 16 clash.
As such, as Barcelona get ready to take on Manchester United in the quarter-final, the clock is well and truly ticking for Coutinho. Time is running out for the 26-year-old to salvage his Barcelona career with rumours of a potential sale in the summer already starting to emerge.
That he is up against his former club’s arch rivals should be added motivation for Coutinho in the two legs and making a decisive impact against Manchester United might just be the spark he needs to reignite his Barcelona career.