There’s a marked difference in the Philippe Coutinho that played for Liverpool and the one that is currently wearing the blaugrana shirt of FC Barcelona.
The Brazilian was the man who opened doors for Liverpool’s attackers in games, but he’s never been anything more than a bit-part player for the Catalan club.
Ex-Reds team-mate, Glen Johnson, thinks that might have something to do with the pressure of making a mark at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
That, and the fact that there’s an expectation to perform week in and week out.
“When he got to Barcelona, big price tag, all the other players, maybe he thought he’s really got to perform, whereas at Liverpool, he didn’t have that,” Johnson said to Mirror Sport on behalf of BettingExpert.com.
“We had such a good vibe in the dressing room, we were like ‘Relax, go and play football and enjoy yourself’.
“He needs that sort of behaviour around him, he doesn’t need pressure, when he was playing his best, the shackles were off and he could enjoy himself.”
Whilst there’s a modicum of truth to what Johnson is saying, the fact remains that Coutinho is an international standard player being paid money that mere mortals can only dream about.
To be so far removed from the player Barca thought they were buying is totally on the Brazilian.
For €160m, you don’t go out to ‘relax’ and ‘enjoy yourself,’ you’re there to be the main man and help the club win trophies.
As it is, Coutinho will arguably go down as the biggest flop in Barcelona history, and when you think they’ve had players such as Douglas in their ranks, that’s some feat.