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Liverpool: Philippe Coutinho Follows Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar with Futsal Flare

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterDecember 17, 2016

Liverpool will be looking to the skills of Philippe Coutinho Sunday to claim victory over Everton in the Merseyside derby. The two city rivals will go head-to-head this weekend, with the Blues looking to ensure they finish their Premier League campaign ahead of the Reds for the second successive season.

Liverpool have endured an inconsistent season in Brendan Rodgers' first full year in charge, but one of the highlights has been the arrival of midfielder Coutinho from Inter Milan in January. The 20-year-old Brazil international has become an instant success with the Anfield supporters since joining the club in an £8.5 million deal during the midseason transfer window (via BBC Sport).

The cliched view of Brazilian football is playing on the beaches and the back streets of major cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo, but Coutinho honed and developed his skills in sports halls in futsal.

Futsal is a variation of football, played by teams consisting of five players and designed to encourage and develop close ball-control skills and quick reactions. Players such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar have worked their way through the ranks of futsal (via, with Coutinho the latest to join them.

Coutinho's rise through the short version of the game has been charted in a number of video clips which have been posted on YouTube. The young Coutinho is wearing the iconic No. 7 shirt in one film—something which will delight Liverpool fans brought up on Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and the current incumbent Luis Suarez wearing the same number.

Now, Liverpool and the team's supporters are hoping Coutinho can become one of the world's greats, with Everton just one of the first teams to be dazzled by his skills on the field.

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