Philippe Coutinho anonymous against Bournemouth amid calls to be dropped but former Liverpool star loves playing old rivals Everton and could be key to kickstarting season

    Philippe Coutinho’s struggles at Aston Villa continued with another poor performance in the club’s opening day defeat to Bournemouth last weekend.

    The Brazilian hit the ground running at Villa Park arriving initially on loan but has only scored or assisted one goal in his last ten starts.

    Coutinho has work to do to stay in Gerrard’s plans

    Getty

    Coutinho has work to do to stay in Gerrard’s plans

    Coutinho made his return to the Premier League permanent this summer after leaving Barcelona and expectation around him was high.

    The 30-year-old was expected to be the marquee man under Steven Gerrard’s new-look Villa that could propel them to the top half this term.

    Yet Coutinho struggled to impose himself against Bournemouth and will need to improve quickly if he is to be a success in Claret and Blue.

    Speaking on talkSPORT’s Gameday phone-in, Villa legend Gabby Agbonlahor said: “The big disappointment was Coutinho.

    “He’s been brought in by Steven Gerrard and he was non-existent and didn’t really get on the ball.

    “He needs to dominate games. He’s keeping a new signing from last year in Emi Buendia on the bench so he has to be taking the games by the scruff of the neck, getting on the ball, making things happen.

    “He had a shot in the second half and it went horribly wide and you think, this isn’t Coutinho.

    “Steven Gerrard has got faith in him but how long can you keep playing him? He’s not getting the numbers that he needs to play in that position.”

    Coutinho reigniting his love affair of playing against Everton could kickstart his season

    Getty

    Coutinho reigniting his love affair of playing against Everton could kickstart his season

    Fortunately for Villa, Coutinho could be about to turn a corner when he faces favourite opponents Everton in the club’s next outing this weekend, live on talkSPORT.

    The ‘Little Magician’ proved a menace for the Toffees during his five-year stint at their fierce rivals Liverpool.

    Coutinho has been involved in four goals in his last three home league starts against Everton with 2 goals and assists apiece.

    He featured in Villa’s 1-0 win at Goodison Park earlier this year but has had to wait half a decade to face the Toffees in a home league tie again.

    Coutinho’s most recent fixture against Everton saw him score and assist in a 3-1 win for Liverpool in April 2017.

    Fans inside Anfield were present to witness his magic on that day – it’s time those flocking to Villa Park see what all the fuss was about…

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