The eye-catching return to Premier League football for Philippe Coutinho has drawn an excellent reaction on social media from former Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah.
The return of the former Liverpool hero to the Premier League has certainly grabbed headlines over the last week. And the Brazilian did not disappoint on his debut for Steven Gerrard’s side after a thrilling introduction off the bench.
Indeed, a Coutinho-inspired Villa exacted a measure of revenge for their FA Cup exit last Monday when holding Manchester United to a draw. United had taken a two-goal lead through Bruno Fernandes, with both goals made possible by individual errors from Villa stars.
Gerrard’s side refused to roll over, however, and they duly pulled one back through the mightily-impressive Jacob Ramsey.
Loanee Coutinho played a part in Ramsey’s goal after causing havoc in the United box, but his next act was the one he would’ve been dreaming of pre-match.
Ramsey returned the favour when steering an accurate cut-back across the face of goal to allow Coutinho to prod home and secure a memorable draw.
It was quite the impact from Coutinho and one which will have Villa fans dreaming of big things.
And his impact off the bench also drew warm applause from his former Liverpool teammate Salah.
In a message to the fans, Coutinho said on Instagram: “Thanks for the warm welcome. Great atmosphere at Villa Park this afternoon.”
One of the replies came from Salah, who is currently on international duty with Egypt at AFCON.
He reacted with three emojis of raised hands, clapping and a flame, commending his former Liverpool teammate.
The duo played together at Anfield for just six months; Salah joining the Reds in summer 2017, before Coutinho departed in January 2018.
Coutinho insists this is just the start
Reflecting on his display, Gerrard was clearly happy with his new signing.
“It is a good start,” Gerrard commented. “We’ve brought a quality footballer to the club. We need to get him up to speed in terms of his match sharpness.”
Coutinho also spoke to the press, telling Sky Sports: “I missed these games and the Premier League.
“I’m very happy to be here with my new teammates. It was a good start, we kept believing until the end, but we didn’t lose.”
Asked if he was nervous pre-game given his reputation as a superstar signing, Coutinho admitted: “Yes, a little bit.
“I don’t speak English very well, I prefer to be on the pitch than talking all the time. I’m happy, it was the first game and I want to work hard to improve and be in better shape.”
Regarding the years since his Liverpool exit in which his career had stalled, Coutinho said: “There have been many ups and downs.
“It is in the past, I’m here and I’m focussed on the objectives of the club and the manager and I want to a good job to help my teammates and the club.”