Daniel White looks at Philippe Coutinho’s season and discusses how the Brazilian needs more consistency to his game.
There is no denying that Philippe Coutinho is one of Liverpool’s best players at the moment, however his lack of consistency does seem to sum up Liverpool this season. The start of the season wasn’t what Liverpool, the fans or any of the players would have wanted, only winning four games in the first eleven. Those statistics wound up in Brendan Rodgers dismissal and the arrival of Jürgen Klopp.
A change of manager can have different effects on players, some eager to prove themselves while others struggle to adapt to a new style of football. In Klopp’s first six games Coutinho scored four goals, was man of the match twice and also created a goal. He looked like he was born for the pressing style of Klopp’s football. He went on throughout the rest of the season to finish with twelve goals, seven assists and receiving man of the match award four times in forty-three appearances according to Whoscored.com.
The biggest question has to be whether those statistics are good enough for a player with Coutinho’s talent?
Twelve goals in forty-three appearances for an attacking midfielder isn’t bad, however the amount of shots taken to get there needs to be considered. Whoscored.com shows that Coutinho averages over four shots a game in the Premier League, that’s the highest in the league and is also the highest in off target attempts with over one missing the target per game. When looking at it from that view Coutinho is either wasteful with chances or chooses odd times to shoot. It would seem poor decision making plays a big part with almost two of Coutinho’s shots getting blocked per game.
Coutinho makes up for this with his pass though, right? Not quite, Coutinho is in the top seven players, according to Whoscored.com, that give the ball away, with over eight short passes a game going astray. Although Coutinho is in the top twelve with accurate long passing, and has a steady pass completion rate sitting just below 80%. Coutinho’s stats do make sense when thought about, and also looked at in periods.
Coutinho’s consistency is a big issue for Liverpool going forward because when he’s on his game, Liverpool seem to be too. Ten games that have involved Coutinho scoring or creating a goal have resulted in a draw or a win, getting him firing can be the difference for Liverpool next season and we have seen the detrimental effects this season when he’s not been playing his best with the negative statistics above.
Highlights for Coutinho this season have come in some of the biggest games for the club this season, particularly the performances against Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund where he proved he could lift the team and put in performances or moments of magic to get the team through. Coutinho has an infectious effect when he’s performing and it rubs off on others, especially Firmino.
Coutinho received four awards at the Liverpool awards: Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year, Goal of the Year and Performance of the Year. It seems that the stats above are harsh on Coutinho, but that’s why at the start I stated that he sums Liverpool up at the moment. Both Liverpool and Coutinho have promising futures and have provided many magical moments so far this season, however I’m certain they will both be looking to improve their consistency for next season with the hope of challenging for a Champions League position.
Featured Image – Sunday Morning Herald