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Coutinho has been a breath of fresh air at Barcelona

Brilliant from the Brazilian

FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC - La Liga Santander Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

It just shows you what a bit a faith and confidence does for a player doesn’t it.

Before Philippe Coutinho was shipped out to Bayern Munich, he looked a shadow of the player that had been purchased from Liverpool.

Barca’s record signing had begun his career at the Camp Nou steadily enough and hit the heights on occasion, but then a slippery downward slope, where he was often played out of position, saw his confidence wane and his form completely desert him.

It’s by no means a stretch to say that the club and supporters were happy to see the back of him, and he certainly hadn’t endeared himself to the latter when putting his fingers in his ears after scoring against Manchester United in the Champions League.

UEFA Champions League”FC Barcelona v Manchester United FC”

Fast forward to the beginning of this campaign, and he has looked like a player reborn under Ronald Koeman.

If reports are to be believed, Coutinho was a whisker away from joining Arsenal, but the Dutchman’s intervention and promise that the Brazilian would be an important player for him stopped any transfer - loan or otherwise - going ahead.

Played in his more natural role, Coutinho has been a revelation. Not only in his attacking work either. He has pressed as hard and as much as any other player in the side.

Two or three times against Sevilla he got back to break up play, and if it’s shown anything at all, it’s that Koeman has everyone playing for their places. Keeping them hungry.

Though our strength in depth isn’t the best by any means, the coach is at least keeping each player on their toes by allowing the likes of Pedri, Trincao, Pjanic and others to get game time in each match.

FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC - La Liga Santander Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

There may be a tinge of disappointment from culers that the match against Sevilla wasn’t won, particularly as our record against them at the Camp Nou is very good.

I’d prefer to look at the bigger picture.

We didn’t lose, there was plenty to take away from the match in a positive sense, and as the season progresses and players get more used to the style which Koeman wants to play, I can foresee only good things.

And let’s be honest, who would’ve said that 50-odd days ago when we were being hammered by Bayern.

The whole team is pulling in the same direction again which is great to see, with Coutinho’s renaissance something to really get excited about.

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