Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho was not included in Brazil’s squad for this summer’s World Cup. He, along with midfielder Lucas Leiva have been left out as six players for the Premier League will be representing the host nation.
Coutinho has put on some eye-catching displays this season and has done his fair share in a few big games as Liverpool have surprised everyone this season in taking the title race down to the final day.
With five goals to his name and seven assists, the Brazilian has made a big impact, such as in both Merseyside derby clashes, and with his winner against Manchester City at Anfield. Though some will say in a side that has scored 99 goals this season, they would expect more from Coutinho given the role he plays.
The 21-year-old will inevitably be disappointed that he misses out on the opportunity to represent his country in a World Cup, add in that they’re the tournament hosts - it is an opportunity that will probably never present itself again during his playing career; a chance to become World Champions in their own back yard.
But he has plenty to learn which may have been Luiz Felipe Scolari’s reason for leaving him out. He isn't the only high profile name who will miss out, Lucas Moura is also another absentee whilst other well-known players in Kaka and Robinho (though they haven't had a great season at AC Milan) also miss out.
There is plenty to like about Coutinho. He has very good close control, his eye for goal is developing all the time and he can sometimes thread through the impossible pass that can lead to a goal. Also for a small man he can be strong on the ball, but there can be a couple of occasions when he needs to show a bit more composure.
There are times when his decision making can let him down. He can do the difficult things but there are occasions when the simple thing is just called for. Rather than thread a pass through wall of several players, a simple ball to the flank is an option, and it’s one he sometimes neglects.
Examples of this came in the Chelsea game Liverpool lost at Anfield when the move often broke down he was trying to force the issue, and as a result the Reds had to work hard to win the ball back – though on that particular occasions, Chelsea were lauded for their game plan in nullifying such a threat.
However, if there is one party to benefit out of this it will be Liverpool. Failure to get into the squad is likely to spur Coutinho on, and he still has plenty of potential left in him, if he improves and provides more of a contribution to the Liverpool team then not only will he benefit but the team will as well.