Liberated star’s return a boost for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid

Philippe Coutinho‘s return for Barcelona could be just the boost they needed ahead of their trip to Atletico Madrid and a pivotal part of the season.

Coutinho has looked revitalised since returning to Catalonia following his loan spell in Germany with Bayern Munich and had emerged as an important cog in Ronald Koeman‘s machine before his recent injury.

As explained by German Bona in Diario Sport, Coutinho has “found an ideal scenario” in “an empty stadium to loosen up and recover sensations and a coach who gave him love and believed in his potential from day one.”

Coutinho started every game for Koeman aside from Getafe, when he came on with 30 minutes to go, and has registered two goals and two assists in six games.

It was El Clasico where he picked up his injury, a muscle complaint that would ensure he missed Juventus, Dynamo Kyiv, Alaves and Real Betis. He’s now fit, however, for the trip to the Spanish capital to take on Cholo Simeone’s men.

In his absence, however things have changed. His place in midfield has been taken by Lionel Messi, whose role has changed slightly, while Antoine Griezmann has been leading the line.

Fitting Coutinho into his system could be a challenge, with perhaps an initial left wing berth in place of the injured Ansu Fati the most likely option despite the good form of Pedri.

Barcelona are currently eighth in the league table, six points behind Atleti in third and nine off league leaders Real Sociedad. The Azulgrana are five points away from bottom-placed Huesca.

Featured image courtesy of Barca Blaugranes.

Tags Atletico Madrid Barcelona La Liga Philippe Coutinho