But with a new manager comes new responsibilities and new demands, and in that respect, the Argentinean has fallen behind in class. He was talking about his chances of playing at an international level again.
Of the 26 shots shared between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium, Philippe Coutinho had just one.
He has scored five goals – memorable, decisive goals – against the Blues since joining the Reds in 2013; against no other side has he scored more. It does feel somewhat churlish to include the Brazilian, but his form since returning from injury has been alarming.
Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) It was as late as November 2015 when the clamour for Ryan Shawcross to be handed another England chance reached its most deafening.
The Stoke captain was in impressive form, and with the same tired international faces producing the same tired performances at centre-half, he was seen as a legitimate contender.
He has not been close to his imperious best, and while he was named Man of the Match after the recent draw with Manchester City, that brief renaissance simply emphasised how far his form has fallen.
He was perhaps hard done by at times in terms of England – Steven Caulker has as many caps – but that ship sailed long ago for the 29-year-old. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) The clue came on Sunday.It was also reflective of Cabaye’s under-performance as the club’s most high-profile player.The 31-year-old offers the sort of Premier League, European and international experience that most in the Palace squad can only dream of. Cabaye has eventually improved under the stewardship of sexy football connoisseur Sam Allardyce, but it has been a long road. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) It could have been Jamie Vardy, scorer of goals in 11 consecutive Premier League games last season, victim of a ten-game barren spell this.He strengthened a defence which needed reinforcement. At 24, he was seen as the future of the club’s spine.He might still realise his potential at the Emirates Stadium, but the last few months have not been kind.He helped guide a run to the FA Cup final last season, but he provided just one Premier League goal and zero assists before Alan Pardew’s sacking in December. It could have been Wes Morgan or Robert Huth, perfect nightclub bouncers last season, drunk punters this.