While he took a few matches to get up to speed, Mali’s Lassana Coulibaly began to look like a £5M+ player with his destroying tackles, his hard-running, his pressing and his harassing in midfield.
Indeed, he looked to every intent and purpose enough to make us here at Ibrox Noise even forget about Greg Docherty for a while, given his rampaging destruction in midfield.
Then… he got injured.
Absent for a month, Coulibaly has started the last six, and to say he’s been a shadow of his old self is an understatement.
Gone is the energy, gone is the midfield breaking of play, and he looks completely off the pace.
We know the lad is a bit of a slow starter – it took him two or three matches to start showing his qualities in August, but once he did, he was unstoppable and a real asset.
Now? He’s AWOL. He is barely a passenger, and it seems more than just an issue of form – he looks noticeably out of sorts, and isn’t even playing in the same kind of position he was before.
Briefly it looked like Gerrard had switched his position from DM to CM, supporting both Ejaria and Jack depending which team had the ball. And there did seem a small improvement as a result, if nothing to shout about.
But it’s more than that – whatever the extent of that thigh injury he sustained, he lacks the running, the grit, the steel and the sheer mobility of before.
Lassana Coulibaly on form and in the right place is an asset, but right now he’s none of those three.