Barcelona club-record signing given hope of Camp Nou future after Valencia win

Philippe Coutinho could salvage his Barcelona career after Ronald Koeman praised the Brazilian following his cameo during their 3-1 win over Valencia on Sunday. The former Liverpool midfielder scored Barcelona’s third goal after coming off the bench.

The 29-year-old midfielder has failed to recapture the form that earned him a club record £145 million move from Liverpool in 2018. Coutinho showed some of his best form in the first-half of last season, but it ended prematurely when he picked up a knee injury that saw him miss the second part of the campaign.

Barcelona were open to offloading the Brazil international in the summer, but he failed to generate sufficient interest owing to his injury troubles and the hefty wages he commands at the Camp Nou. Coutinho was linked with a move back to England with Leicester City identifying him as a potential replacement for James Maddison, but a move failed to materialise.

Coutinho has worked himself back to full fitness and has been training with Koeman’s first-team squad since the start of the season. He came on just shy of the hour mark during Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Valencia on Sunday.

The Brazilian scored his team’s third goal to ensure all three points and received praise from the Dutch coach. Koeman hinted that Coutinho could have a larger role to play going forward if he improved his fitness, suggesting that he is not ready to start a game at the moment.

“It was good,” Koeman told reporters after the win, as quoted by Goal. “When he entered the game he was good. With his freedom we were able to control the game better. He knows how to score goals.

“He has taken an important step because I have always believed in Coutinho. Physically, he is getting better and better.”

The win over Valencia was Barcelona’s second La Liga win in three games, which has helped ease the pressure on Koeman. The Dutchman was under fire after suffering back to back losses against Benfica and Atletico Madrid.

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