‘Keyboard Warriors’ – Steven Gerrard launches fiery defense of Philippe Coutinho

An emotional Steven Gerrard, among critics who questioned Philippe Coutinho’s timing at the Camp Nou, said: “It makes no sense to me to listen to the keyboard warriors in Barcelona!”

The Brazilian came under fire after Barcelona manager Xavi fell out of favor and made just five starts throughout the season amid concerns about his form and fitness, before his loan move at Villa Park.

The Champions League winner last completed 90 minutes earlier in October 2020 after missing most of the previous season due to a knee injury.

As for Gerrard, he persuaded his former Liverpool teammate to return to the Premier League after a successful Zoom call, with Villa having the option of buying Coutinho for £33 million over the summer.

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Villa chief Gerrard was asked about Coutinho’s suspects, and was quick to replace him.

He said: “I take zero notice of what people are saying in Barcelona. Why would I analyze what people are saying there, it’s not important.

“What is important is that we have signed an amazing footballer. When the opportunity came to bring in someone who won two leagues in Barcelona, ​​several cups for Barcelona, ​​went on loan to Bayern Munich and won the European Cup, and someone who I knew him too well from his days playing Liverpool.

“It doesn’t make sense to me to listen to the keyboard warriors in Barcelona. I know the player, I know the boy, and I believe we can lead him.”

“He is a fantastic talent, he needs to smile and enjoy his football, to feel confident, supported and loved, and I have no doubt that we will see the real Philippe Coutinho.”

Gerrard said: “You can clearly see that he is a player who, like most footballers, needs to feel loved and supported. I was like, you want people to believe and believe in you.

“It is my job and the employees, their new teammates and supporters, to make them feel good about themselves.

“If you find a happy Philippe Coutinho enjoying his football, who is in physical space in terms of repeated training and getting game-time, talent doesn’t leave you.

“Quality doesn’t leave you, it’s about keeping everything else around it and that’s our job, putting everything around it.”

After a blockbuster deal to bring in Coutinho, Lucas Digne was confirmed on Thursday for £25m, both of whom are in line for their debuts against Manchester United on Saturday.

Before his return to the Villa Park dugout, after missing out on Chelsea’s Boxing Day defeat due to Covid, Gerrard said: “There is definitely a sign of optimism and ambition, not only from me but also from the top of the club, which is important here.

“We want to move on now, we don’t want to wait. When we arrived we knew we had a lot of talented youngsters in the group, who are potentially going to be great players for Villa.

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“We also had a ‘middle age’ bracket – Cash, Mings, Konsa – who are trying to be top players. They are already great players, but they have another level, and they are still seasoned footballers. Those are just a few examples.

“We felt that the group probably lacked some players who had real pedigree, who have won before, who have been there and done that, who have the confidence and confidence to add to what is already here. can reach a certain level.

“The first couple of signatures are statements and players who are now ready to help Villa, not potential, or ‘we wait’ or ‘it probably is’.

“We know these two players, if we can make them happy and enjoy our football again, this will bring a lot to the club. We felt the need for the dressing room, and in the dressing room that was already there. Yes, there may be opportunities to complement it again.

“I’m sure Villa Park will be bouncing (vs United), as it always has been, but I’m sure there will be a little more edge because of what happened on Monday night.

“We can’t wait for it, we are in a good place. We just need to execute and execute the performance with the result.”