Coutinho has been starting lately, but that’s mainly down to the absence of Ousmane Dembélé. With the Frenchman returning to full fitness, Coutinho may not have a place in the starting XI.
The Brazilian star’s performances have been criticized as uneven, with Ernesto Valverde taking him off the past three matches after giving him a starting berth.
Coutinho was bought in a club record 160 million euro transfer from Liverpool to become Andrés Iniesta’s successor in midfield. Despite starting the season there, Coutinho was moved to play on the left wing as Valverde sought a more balanced system between attack and defense.
Coutinho seems uncomfortable both as a midfielder and as a winger in Valverde’s setup, which is a big part of the problem. Fans and some in the press have said if the Brazilian does not pick up his form soon, a summer sale could be in the cards.
However, ESPN reports the club brass are happy with the Brazilian and willing to give the 26-year-old more time to shine.