Southampton 0 – 2 Liverpool
40 yards from goal, Markovic casually passes the ball to Coutinho in midfield, who opens up his body and with very little backlift, produces a ferocious strike. Goal.
There is nothing Forster can do about this.
Liverpool 2 – 1 Manchester City
Coutinho dribbles towards the KOP end on the left flank, cuts inside at the edge of the box, takes a slight touch to slightly drift back and produces a beautiful curler past Joe Hart.
There is nothing Hart can do about this.
There is nothing any goalkeeper in the world can do about this.
People have been talking a lot Coutinho’s goals recently. About the quality of his strikes, and how he puts in extra shifts during training to improve his shooting ability, and the results are evident. His strikes have been cleaner, with little back-lift and a good follow-through; as opposed to his previous shots which used to either be low, skewed, or misaligned, and left Coutinho along with the rest of us frustrated of how he’d fuse out in the final third.
In a high-intensity, rugged English game, where teams have either been pressing too high up your neck, or building a compact fort inside their own half, Coutinho has found the sweet spot by managing to converge a little bit of samba into Rodger’s customised tiki-taka framework.
Even if you remove the screamers he has been scoring aside, Coutinho has been such a joy to watch. There were always concerns of him being lightweight since he arrived at Liverpool, but recently through his performances he has shown that he has found the balance between being effective and exuding his Brazilian flair.
Credit goes to Rodgers too, as he has implemented a system which not only incorporates a no.10 like Coutinho but also accentuates his prime abilities as a footballer. Brendan has managed to get the best out of his players through the 3-5-2 system, which provides a solid foundation defensively, and allows Liverpool to attack with confidence and fluidity.
The extra width, ball retention and recycling has has allowed players to attack creatively with intent in the final third, because of which players like Ibe, Sterling, Markovic and Coutinho have been flourishing. Coutinho hasn’t just ‘fit’ into our system, he’s thriving in it. Coutinho has found a mode of expression through his play enabling him to being much more than just a cog in Rodger’s red machine.
His dribbling ability, the slight drop of the shoulder, casual flicks, dragbacks, the way he carousals around midfield weighing his options, drifting infield scourging pasts multiple players have all been a joy to watch.
His movement on and off the ball has been exemplary. To add to this, he has sacrificed very little on the defensive shifts he puts in. There has been no compromise of work-rate. He’s blossoming into such a delightful footballer!
Liverpool have a potential world-class footballer on their hands, and he’s developing gracefully.
Rodgers was full of praise for the little Brazilian after the game,”He is a player that has always assisted and made the final pass in his career, playing it in or working it for someone. He’s a very selfless player, a very humble young guy and he would always rather create for others. But we have just encouraged him and he has done more work on the training field as well.
Rodgers,”He has got wonderful body movement around the edge of the box where it doesn’t take him many touches to get the ball under control, shift it and shoot. You have seen recently that he is starting to work that space really well. His technique is at a really, really high level so he is going to score more goals.
Rodgers,”He is now arriving into the areas and obviously then he is able to pull the trigger and get his shots off. You saw that goal, the one at Bolton which was a great strike and some other strikes. He is now starting to get success from it and that obviously encourages him to shoot more.”
PS. There is a debate doing the rounds on twitter: Di Maria vs Ozil vs Coutinho. I’ve not included any statistics to prove that Coutinho is a better footballer. This isn’t a debate about who is the better one. I really do not want to statistically prove how good Coutinho is. It’s only in appreciation of the evolving magician at Liverpool.
Di Maria: App 18 – Goals 4 – Assists 8
Ozil: App 13 – Goals 4 – Assists 4
Coutinho : App 29 – Goals 4 – Assists 4
Di Maria > Ozil > Coutinho
If this is how you rate footballers,
Good luck lads! Happy to have the most inferior among the trio.