Philippe Coutinho’s torrid time at Barcelona continues to baffle and frustrate in equal measure, with even his own teammates fretting at the Brazilian’s patchy form.
Coutinho has netted 18 goals in 60 games since swapping Liverpool for the Nou Camp in 2018, but his performances haven’t lived up to the expectations generated by his time at Anfield.
Despite the Brazilian’s struggles, Barca have thrived both domestically and in Europe. They lead La Liga by seven points from Atletico Madrid – and crucially lead rivals Real Madrid by a massive 12 points – and face Lyon in the Champions League last-16 next week.
But all isn’t well in the Barca camp. During a first-team training session on Friday defender Gerard Pique vocalised his displeasure with his teammate’s apparent lack off focus.
“Come on Phil, you’re not plugged in,”Pique was heard shouting after Coutinho was dispossessed during a warm-up exercise.
And if Atletico slip up against Athletic Bilbao the lead could be extended to ten.
The top two will meet at the Nou Camp on 6 April in what could be a make or break game to decide the destination of the La Liga crown.
European champions Real Madrid meanwhile will be looking to bounce back from their Champions League humiliation against Ajax on Tuesday when they take on Valladolid.
Real have a healthy cushion in the race for next season’s Champions League but will be desperate to avoid further embarrassment following their European disaster.