Raphinha was Leeds United’s key performer against Norwich City as they won 2-1 at Carrow Road in a fierce relegation scrap.
All three goals arrived in the space of four minutes as both sides fought desperately for the three points. But Marcelo Bielsa’s men prevailed and Raphinha was excellent the whole game.
Leeds have struggled to replicate last season’s form. Yet the one constant this campaign has been the Brazilian’s quality in the final third, and the former Rennes star used his pace to stretch the Norwich defence to give his team an out-ball on the break.
He has scored four goals so far this season, which might not sound like much when you consider Mohamed Salah has 15. But the difference in quality around them is important to consider.
What impressed most about Raphinha on Sunday wasn’t his sticky first touch or his ability to glide past defenders at will. You would expect that from most Brazilian wingers.
It was his composure as Leeds desperately needed a level-headed forward to keep his cool under pressure, and that is exactly what they got from Raphinha as he showed just why Liverpool are interested in him.
In fact, his agent, Deco, revealed to Globo Esporte that Liverpool are keen but nothing official was discussed in the summer.
“Raphinha became an important player in the Premier League, the club knows he has grown and things will happen naturally,” Deco said last month.
“He is young, he has many challenges ahead, there are certainly several clubs that like him, and Liverpool do like him, there were approaches, but nothing official.
“Leeds wanted to keep him for another season.”
Liverpool’s Fabinho actually admitted to expecting the Reds to sign Raphinha in the summer, when speculation over a move to Anfield was rife.