BRAZIL

Liverpool's Firmino says Coutinho still has 'magical powers'

Philippe Coutinho is aiming to re-establish himself after a difficult few years, but Roberto Firmino still believes in him.

Coutinho's 'magical powers' leave Firmino in awe: 'He produces plays that don't exist'

Roberto Firmino lavished high praise on Brazil team-mate Philippe Coutinho, claiming he has "magical powers" that help him see passes and moves that other players could not imagine.

Magical Coutinho impresses Firmino

Coutinho and Firmino have been team-mates since 2014 when the latter broke into the Brazil setup, four years after the Barcelona attacker.

But in 2015 they became Liverpool colleagues as well when Firmino joined from Hoffenheim, as the foundations for Jürgen Klopp's all-conquering Reds began to take shape.

Coutinho ultimately left for Barcelona in 2018 before Liverpool realised their full potential, and ever since little has gone right for the Vasco da Gama youth product, who struggled at Camp Nou before failing to earn a permanent move to Bayern Munich.

But Firmino remains convinced of the talent still held by Coutinho, who has been given a fresh chance at Barca under new head coach Ronald Koeman.

"He's phenomenal," Firmino told FIFA. "You simply can't say that he's not a magician. He has magical powers.

"He produces plays that don't exist, that you couldn't make up. You always have to watch replays of his plays to understand what he's done. He's an unbelievable player.

"It was a pleasure to play with him at Liverpool, and it's a pleasure to play with him for the Selecao. I'm a huge fan of his. He's one of the very best players in the world."

Like Coutinho, Firmino scored in Brazil's most recent match – the 5-0 demolition of Bolivia in Sao Paulo.

Firmino was the leading the line for Brazil, a role he has become accustomed to both at club level and with the Selecao, and he hopes to be a long-term option in a position the team has arguably been short in since the days of Ronaldo.

"Yes, definitely, I love playing in this position, I want to be the player Brazil can rely on in this position," he said, before outlining how coach Tite has asked him to play the role.

"It's not that he asked me not to help out, but he wants me to always be in the area. I still have to get back to mark, but he wants me to chase back less after the ball, be in the box more.

"I have a natural urge to help out, get back – I do this for Liverpool – so I have put this aside and do what Tite has asked of me.

"I enjoy being involved in play, creating goals, but I also enjoy being in the box, scoring goals."