Despite having scored Barcelona’s only goal in the 2-1 defeat against Levante in the first leg of the round of 16 of the King’s Cup, Philippe Coutinho could not make the criticism he has been receiving in recent weeks stop.
The club’s biggest hiring at all times (160 million euros), the Brazilian has been having his most difficult time at the Camp Nou since moving from Liverpool in the middle of the last season.
In Barça’s last ten matches, the number 7 started in half of them and, starting from December, his rhythm fell to the point that he started being on the bench more often: in the last four rounds of the Spanish League he was used as a substitute and was practically null in these duels (no goal, no assistance and just one finish on the goal).
The 1-1 draw with Tottenham, inserted in this context that started in December 2018, was a mere formality since the Catalans were already ranked first of the group and they were going to the round of 16. Coutinho even tried, but did not enchant and did not to solve things in that confront.
The goal scored in the incredible 5-1 over Real Madrid, a reason to fill anyone with confidence, was the beginning of lack of goals that ended two months later, with the penalty converted in the defeat of last Thursday (10th of January).
What was evident after the setback to Levante, with the criticism received by the Catalan and Spanish media, and also a small warning from his coach Ernesto Valverde, is that Barcelona’s most expensive athlete has not done what he is expected to do – change games. Whether with Messi in the pitch or without him, as in the case of their last defeat (which also had, in addition, the change of some pieces and a change in the tactical part) Coutinho is not playing what he should be.
Head down and using his most powerful weapon, the long-distance shot, with little effectiveness, the impression is that what Philippe Coutinho is lacking at the moment is self-confidence. Because football and talent we all know he has.