Fans’ debate – Philippe Coutinho vs. Roberto Firmino

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Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool gathers the ball after scoring his team's second goal during the EFL Cup Third Round match between Derby County and Liverpool at iPro Stadium on September 20, 2016 in Derby, England.
All rights reserved by Gareth Copley/Getty Images Europe

Ben Lovering explains why he thinks Coutinho is better than Firmino.

Recently on social media, there has been a lot of debate amongst Liverpool fans over who is the better player, Philippe Coutinho or Roberto Firmino. There is a strong argument that can be made for either player, however, I am firmly in the Coutinho camp.

Having arrived at Liverpool for £8.5 million in January 2013, Coutinho has spent 3 and a half seasons with the club and is going into his fourth. It is a credit to him that, since the move from Serie A side Inter Milan, he has been named Liverpool Fans’ Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year in both the 2014/15 and 2015/16 season.

It is fair to say that, since Luis Suarez has left, Phillipe has really stepped up to the plate and become Liverpool’s main man. He’s become the player that both the players and fans look to when we’re in need, and he’s stepped up more often that not.

Whilst he has been troubled by inconsistency, there’s many an example of why he’s become our star player. For example, his delicate chip against Manchester United, or his crucial saving equaliser against the other Manchester club in the Capital One cup final.

Firmino, on the other hand, has just finished his first season with Liverpool, and what a hugely successful season it’s been for him.

He finished the season as Liverpool’s top scorer in the Premier League with 10 goals to his name. An impressive feat to achieve in his debut season. If you add his goals and assists across other competitions, he reaches a combined 21 goals and assists. Very impressive.

It was a slow start for Roberto in England, with him not really clicking under Brendan Rodgers. It wasn’t until Jurgen Klopp arrived in October, and started to play Firmino as a centre-forward, that we started to see the goals and assists from him.

He too became an important player for us, which we witnessed when he was a catalyst in our destruction of Villareal in the semi-final second leg Europa League tie at Anfield.

It is this debate that’s had Liverpool fans at one another’s necks these past few days. Whilst I will concede that Firmino is better than Coutinho in certain aspects of the game, I strongly believe that Coutinho is the better of the two and a more important player for Liverpool.

For me personally, I can’t look past the two seasons that Coutinho has almost single-handedly dragged Liverpool through, taking the weight of all that expectation and shouldering it like it’s nothing.

Not to mention how much he has matured since he arrived here and how well he’s adapted to the English game. It’s a joy to watch him play, to watch him carve open a defence with one pass, to watch him nestle the ball into the top corner from 20 or 30 yards out, or to watch him flick the ball over three or four players’ heads.

It is for these reasons that I believe Coutinho is not only the best Brazilian at the club but also the most important player at the club.

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