After starring role against QPR, is Liverpool's £8.5m game changer back to his best?

Liverpool YNWA

Philippe Coutinho may have given Reds fans hope that the Brazilian is back to his brilliant best.

It had been a tale of woe for Philippe Coutinho so far this season.

The Brazilian had not quite sunk as low as the likes of Lazar Markovic and Mario Balotelli - but his form had tailed off to unacceptable levels for Liverpool.

At 22, young Coutinho could be expected to produce inconsistency. Not, though, when the Reds needed him most and after he had proven himself capable of delivering last season.

Brendan Rodgers challenged him to score more goals and register more assists this term. But, instead, Coutinho shied away into his shell. Since he delivered a poor performance against Chelsea in Liverpool's potential title decider last season, the Brazilian hadn't looked the same player.

Until Sunday.

Sunday, Reds fans will hope, may have changed everything. With a dire Liverpool side producing one of their worst performances in recent memory at the Premier League's bottom side Queens Park Rangers, Coutinho was introduced by Rodgers in the hope that the creative 22-year-old could produce a display similar to those he regularly put in last campaign.

And, thankfully for the Anfield side, that's exactly what happened.

Not only did the playmaker score a fine solo goal to put his team 2-1 up, he also conjured one of the passes of the season so far in the build-up to the goal that would ultimately secure a 3-2 win.

Rodgers appears to have managed Coutinho well. The Brazilian was trying far too much and being far too wasteful earlier this term. To remedy that, he was dropped to the bench. Now, he looks revitalised.

Is the £8.5 million man, signed back in January 2013, back to his best? Based on his QPR performance, most certainly. But the question now is whether he can keep that up - and against better defenders.

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