Philip Coutinho is caught in a "negative cycle" in Barcelona, but according to a high-performance expert, there is hope for the Brazilian star.
Barcelona paid Liverpool £ 142m to take Kutinho to La Liga in January last year, but after a promising start, his form was worryingly over this season.
The Brazilian has only scored four goals in 21 games in this match and has failed to provide a creative spark in recent weeks when Ernesto Valverde's team has made their last three matches in all competitions.
High-performance coaching expert Xesco Espar identifies three areas that have contributed to Coutinho's struggle – predictability, the emergence of Ousmane Dembele and his own instability.
"Everyone at the stadium knows what will happen when he gets the ball: he will move to the left and try to shoot," Espar told Sport.
– The rivals know what they will do now and the effectiveness of this move has been reduced this season.
"Second, the development of Usamane Dembele this season has limited Kutinho's capabilities, but even with Dembele, Coutinho has been unable to take advantage of the games.
Third. "Ku" is the smallest possible player in Barca's attack: Suarez, Dembele and Messi can cope with more opposition kicks. Kutinho loses all his physical battles. "
Espar, a former handball coach in Barcelona, believes that these factors have put Kouttinho in a "negative cycle, with the player's image almost reflecting his shape."
"This image generates negativity and limited expectation of its own performance," he added. "This is not for anyone's benefit. There is a lack of trust, lack of vision and no clarity in his play."
However, he says Brazil can break the cycle ahead. The coach guru believes that working on his physicality can reap medium-term benefits, but a more immediate solution may be available.
Espar said, "A new trick or genius can start a new winning cycle, as his rivals will not be sure what he will do in one situation.
"If Kutinho is able to change his inner dialogue (such as in his best performances and believe in them), his self-confidence may return and his emergence at important moments will help him regain confidence."