What makes a great player?
Mental strength, too.
All good answers.
Yet it is that indefinable quality of belief — arrogance, in a sense — that perhaps makes the biggest difference.
This was the ingredient Luis Suarez added while at Liverpool to elevate him from a top player into a truly great one.
With him, there was a moment against Everton where Suarez confirmed that special quality, when he was accused pre-match of diving by David Moyes… and celebrated an inevitable goal in the derby by diving at the feet of the Blues’ manager.
Now that is belief.
On Saturday, we may have just witnessed another of those moments in another seminal game between the Mersey enemies — a pivotal moment when a very good player takes a step up towards a higher level.
It was Philippe Coutinho , of course.
His performance alone was something we’ve not quite seen from the Brazilian in a Liverpool shirt before; an ability and determination to take the game by the throat and squeeze the life out of his opponents.
Coutinho has produced many moments of brilliance in a red shirt, but few sustained matches of imperious control as he did here.
Yet it wasn’t even the performance which was potentially career-transforming, as impressive as it was in showing he is finally ready to dictate games.
The most telling contribution came in the 73rd minute, after he’d taken Everton apart with a Samba slalom and genius finish for 2-1, and then created the Reds’ clinching third goal for Divock Origi.
It came as his number was raised to haul him from the fray.
Coutinho is used to being subbed and usually trots willingly to the line.
Not this time.
He shot a death stare towards manager Jurgen Klopp, violently shook his head at the German, lowered his glare and avoided any form of trademark Klopp embrace.
That anger and defiance spoke volumes.
He knew we was conducting Liverpool’s symphony, and was destroying Everton.
He knew he was the best player and could have added further punishment.
For once, he was prepared to say it… the quiet, unassuming little midfielder finally finding his arrogance.
Afterwards, even Klopp was inclined to suggest it was an important moment for a star accused so often of being too passive, too timid, showing fire and fight.
The German, who suggested he was saving the 24-year-old’s legs for the game against Bournemouth on Wednesday, said: “His reaction was positive. Yes.
“Everyone could see he was upset at coming off.
“He could have carried on making a difference with his genius passing and his speed, but we really need him and 70 minutes was absolutely enough after his trip and playing the games for Brazil [in South America last week, before being whisked back for the Saturday lunchtime kickoff].
“I am happy, happy, happy though. It was a fantastic game from him, absolutely fantastic, in offensive and defensive.”
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Jurgen Klopp speaks after win over Everton
Saturday could be the game where Coutinho put up his hand to be Liverpool’s next talisman, to follow the path to the highest level Suarez plotted at Anfield before moving on to Barcelona.
It could be required too, with Sadio Mane limping off, and certain to miss the Bournemouth game, even if the winger later said he was okay.
Mane had started the party, scoring an equally fine individual goal, and even after Everton briefly exploited Liverpool’s discomfort with zonal marking to allow rookie defender Matthew Pennington to score his first goal for the club from a set-piece, the home side were still in control.
While quiet man Coutinho may have come of age, the same can not be said of Everton’s glittering duo of Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley.
Both seem to be angling for transfers in the summer, but there seemed little evidence of the viability of that in this game.
Indeed, if a top club were to create a shopping list based on Saturday’s 90 minutes, Coutinho would top it, closely followed by also-excellent team-mate and countryman Roberto Firmino.
Beaten boss Ronald Koeman, who lost Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy and Ramiro Funes Mori to international-break injuries, said: “It is hard to go into a game like this with so many young players, but they all showed great belief and confidence.
“We have to look to bring these players through. It’s really bright for Everton’s future.”