Roberto Firmino has included former teammate Philippe Coutinho in his ultimate Liverpool 5-a-side team.
In a video for Liverpool FC on YouTube, Firmino was asked to name five players to make up his dream side. After picking current teammates Alisson Becker, Virgil Van Dijk and Fabinho, Bobby threw in a blast from the past.
“Fourth is Philippe Coutinho,” said the Brazilian. “We had a great bond when we played together. It was a privilege to play alongside him. He is an amazing player, I admire him a lot, he’s a real inspiration for me.”
The battle for the fifth and final slot in the team was likely to be between Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. In the end, Firmino plumped for his current Reds teammate, with Salah making up the five.
Firmino’s ultimate Liverpool 5-a-side team: Alisson, Van Dijk, Fabinho, Coutinho, Salah.
Coutinho’s best days now behind him
There is a certain sense of ‘what could have been’ around Coutinho’s time at Liverpool. Over five years at the club he grew to become the key figure at Anfield. But just when he was on top, he left.
The success that Liverpool have enjoyed under Jurgen Klopp has all come without the now 30-year-old at the club.
But had Klopp been able to call on Coutinho’s magic, maybe the Reds could have won even more than they have.
That’s a question that we’ll never know the answer to. The very fact that Coutinho’s mega sale to Barcelona practically funded Liverpool’s swoops for Alisson and Van Dijk also can’t be ignored.
Without the money from Barcelona, it’s highly unlikely that the Reds could have afforded one let alone both of that transformative pair. Still, it’s nice to dream.
Since leaving Liverpool in 2018, Coutinho’s career has stalled quite considerably. Once the main man at Anfield, he was reduced to a bit-part player at Barca before joining Bayern Munich on-loan in 2019.
Although he ended the season as a Champions League winner with Bayern, he was never fully convincing in Bavaria. Now back in the Premier League with Aston Villa, Coutinho isn’t exactly lighting up the division. There was at one time still a vague hope that he may return to link-up with Firmino once more.
That is no longer anything like a feasible option. Unless he can pluck some great form from somewhere, it looks a safe bet that Coutinho’s best days are now firmly behind him.