This week, Phillipe Coutinho returned to England to face Manchester United in the Champions League, but this time, he wasn’t wearing the famous red of Liverpool.
The last time the Brazilian made the trip to Old Trafford in Europe, he expertly lobbed David de Gea to knock United out of the Europa League, but on Wednesday he was little more than a cog in Erneste Valverde’s machine.
In truth, Coutinho could have found himself scoring the decisive goal once again, had Luke Shaw not deflected Luis Suarez’s head past De Gea and into the net.
Coutinho was following the ball in, but this time he had to settle for being one of the supporting cast in Manchester, and not the hero.
The 26-year-old was signed by the Spanish giants last season, but since, he’s regressed and has failed to make an impact at the club that he’d longed to sign for, submitting a transfer request in the months previous. The fee of £142m is often understated, perhaps due to the excessive fees paid by PSG for Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Presently, Coutinho is the third-most expensive player in football history, but this season he’s only played as frequently as Fabinho has for Liverpool.
Crucially, though, Fabinho has spent a lot of time learning the patterns and intricacies of Jurgen Klopp’s system behind the scenes, especially in the early stages of the season, and he only arrived in the summer.