Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho had an uneventful match in only his sixth international appearance for the Brazilian national team as they beat fellow South Americans Chile 1-0 in London.
The Reds' playmaker was surprisingly left out of last summer’s World Cup campaign despite having a wonderful season on Merseyside.
After a slow start to this season, Coutinho’s form has picked up suddenly and prompted Sky Sports pundit Thierry Henry to recently label him the Premier League’s outstanding player in his blog for The Sun.
As a result, new Brazilian coach Dunga brought him back into the international reckoning and handed him the opportunity to shine against Alexis Sanchez’s exciting Chile side.
|Shots||Key Passes||Take-ons||Crosses||Touches||Pass Success %||Dispossessed||Mins Played|
As per the table above, however, the former Inter Milan ace struggled to gain a foothold in a rather scrappy match and was subsequently hauled off minutes before the hour mark.
The 22-year-old only took a total of 30 touches and struggled to create anything of note in the final third, recording no shots or key passes.
Renowned among Premier League observers for his delightful ball control and trickery in tight spots, Coutinho surprisingly only completed one successful dribble and was dispossessed on two occasions.
Perhaps it was more of a case of the Samba outfit’s unorthodox 4-2-2-2 formational and the focus of playing narrowly which hindered the Reds playmaker, but it certainly wasn’t Coutinho’s best game.
With competition in the squad extremely strong, it is imperative the youngster takes the initiative when given the opportunity to stake his claim for a place or he could find himself once again frozen out.
A late Roberto Firmino strike – Coutinho’s replacement – ultimately proved the difference though both teams will expect much more when they begin their 2015 Copa America campaign later this year.