Steven Gerrard has heaped praise on Philippe Coutinho as the Brazilian superstar excelled in Aston Villa’s 4-0 win against Southampton.
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Coutinho scored one, set up another and went close on several occasions as he set the tone for a dominant Villa win.
Speaking to the BBC after the game, Steven Gerrard believes that the playmaker on loan from Barcelona is getting back to his best.
Gerrard delighted with Brazilian magician
“We’ve got Phil [Coutinho] back fit and in a really good place – he was back to his Liverpool form today and he was a touch above,” Gerrard said. “The other players have got a lift from him. It is about having players running in behind for him and Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings were untouchable at times today too.
“When Phil is in the mood he is a world class player. He probably finished my career a couple of years early, he’s the reason I’ve got screws in my knees and groins!”
Coutinho was everywhere as Villa played a 4-4-2 formation with McGinn, Ramsey and Luiz doing plenty of running in midfield to stop Southampton’s high press. That allowed Coutinho to float around and create and he did that brilliantly.
If Villa can get Coutinho playing regularly and in this free role in a midfield four, then they will surge up the table.
Villa sharp as back-to-back wins reignite season
Talking about the energetic display from Villa overall — they swarmed Southampton from start to finish and could have won by more — Gerrard lauded the effort of his players.
“It could have been bigger, without Fraser Forster it could have been five or six. We deserved a clean sheet – we had a collective unity today, we worked hard and put our bodies on the lines. We scored four magnificent goals, and they were all different.
“What pleased me was the fact that we controlled the game, I don’t think anyone can take that away from us,” Gerrard added.
Back-to-back wins has pushed Villa back into the battle to finish in the top 10.
They had wobbled a bit in recent weeks after some disappointing defeats but the win at Brighton and this hammering of Southampton proved that Gerrard can build some momentum for the rest of this season and Villa can be a top 10 team, at the very least, next season.
If Coutinho sticks around, then who knows?