Technical Area

The Technical Area – Assessing Coutinho’s Reds Return

A return to the Liverpool starting line-up for the first time since Gameweek 4 last weekend failed to produce the Fantasy points for Philippe Coutinho. With the Brazilian installed wide left, Brendan Rodgers moved from 3-4-1-2 to 4-4-2, allowing the winger to drift inside and dictate matters centrally.

In this latest Technical Area article, we cast an eye over last Saturday’s Anfield encounter and assess Coutinho’s role as the Reds prepare for a favourable run of games. With showdowns against Hull, Norwich, West Ham and Cardiff in four of the five fixtures directly following their Gameweek 12 trip to Goodison, Rodgers’ side are handed the chance to continue the form that sees them sit just two points off the summit.

Average Positions – Liverpool Gameweek 11 and Coutinho 2013/13

LiverpoolGW11
Coutinho Av Pos 2013

Looking at Liverpool’s average position map (left) in the 4-0 mauling of Martin Jol’s men, it’s clear to see how much leeway Coutinho (10) had to impose himself in the middle. While Jordan Henderson (14) played a more conventional role on the opposite flank, the Brazilian continually shifted inside to find possession and was as central as Daniel Sturridge (15) when on the ball, allowing Luis Suarez (7) the chance to push forward and wreak havoc on the visitors’ defence.

Compared to his previous average positions for the season (right), Coutinho’s role against the Cottagers was very similar. Crucially for Rodgers, the Brazilian’s first four Gameweeks were on the left of a 4-2-3-1, with Suarez still suspended at that point in time – the fact that Coutinho still found so much time and space playing with a front two, as opposed to a lone forward, bodes well for Liverpool’s attacking potential, then.

Although Rodgers has talked up the Brazilian’s chances of a role in “the hole” in a 3-4-1-2, it’s noticeable that, in all of the five games Coutinho has started, Liverpool have played with a back-four – indeed, even his second-half introduction in the previous Gameweek’s defeat at Arsenal saw Rodgers move to 4-4-2.

Coutinho Gameweek 1-4 Versus Gameweek 11

TchsTchs Final 3rdPass Rcvd Final 3rdSucc Pass Final 3rdChances CrtdTchs BoxShotsShots Box
GW1-461.830.514.212.21.522.80.8
GW111126336352994

Coutinho’s Gameweek 11 performance, in comparison to his four appearances prior to sustaining a shoulder injury at the Liberty, is hugely encouraging for his owners and would-be Fantasy suitors. Certainly, the stats should be taken in context – Liverpool averaged 48.4% possession in those first four fixtures, whereas on Saturday, a dominant display allowed them 68.4% of the play.

Nonetheless, in his first appearance in the same side as Suarez this season, the upturn in overall performance is marked. Coutinho had 112 touches of th ball at the weekend, a massive improvement on his 61.8 beforehand. His number of touches in the opponents’ final third more than doubled (up from 30.5 to 63), as did his passes received (14.2 up to 36), while the number of successful passes made in this crucial area almost trebled; a total of 35, up from 12.2 beforehand.

In spite of his time on the ball, Coutinho’s creativity remained relatively similar – he produced 2 “key passes” against the Cottagers, just up on his previous average of 1.5. Goal potential, though, is another matter entirely – his total of 9 touches inside the area was more than he managed over the first four Gameweeks altogether, with an average of 2 per appearance. Coutinho fired 9 attempts on goal in the 4-0 rout – once again, this is a huge improvement on 2.8 per game – whilst his close-range menace saw him register 4 shots inside the Fulham penalty box, up from 0.8 per appearance beforehand.

Such a significant upturn can be partly put down to Fulham’s defensive stats, though. Prior to last week’s encounter, Jol’s side were second most porous for shots inside (99) and outside (83) the box; faced with such a weak opponent, Liverpool were always likely to run riot – indeed, Rodgers’ side registered a total of 32 shots in the 4-0 win.

Liverpool Attack Versus Fulham

TchsTchs Final 3rdPass Rcvd Final 3rdSucc Pass Final 3rdChances CrtdTchs BoxShotsShots Box
Coutinho1126336352994
Suarez81643123620107
Sturridge352315101643
Henderson1064840316331

While Fulham’s dismal display undoubtedly affected Coutinho’s stats, a comparison with his team-mates is perhaps the fairest way of assessing his performance in context. The move to 4-4-2 allowed Henderson plenty involvement on the Reds right, with a total of 106 touches almost on a par with Coutinho’s 112. Inside the final third, the Brazilian was on the ball more or less as much as Suarez, with 63 touches to the Uruguayan’s 64 – Sturridge, on the other hand, had just 23; less than half Henderson’s tally of 48.

Henderson’s impressive contribution is again highlighted with the number of passes received inside the Fulham defensive third – a total of 40 was more than any home player. While Coutinho (35) and Suarez (31) were again relatively similar, Sturridge’s peripheral performance saw him manage less than half his strike-partner, managing just 15 before being subbed off late in the second-half.

In terms of distribution in the final third, Liverpool’s wide men made exactly double the number of successful passes as the front two (66 to 33), with Sturridge again the weak link – he made just 10 against the Cottagers, less than half Suarez’ 23. Despite making more successful passes in this area than any of Rodgers’ main threats, Coutinho was left behind by Suarez and Henderson when it came to teeing up goalscoring opportunities for team-mates; the latter pair made an impressive 6 “key passes” apiece.

Inside the box, Suarez’ extraordinary display saw him make 20 touches – more than the other three combined – though what also catches the eye is that, in the trio’s first match together in the XI, Coutinho managed more than Sturridge, by 9 to 6. Suarez leads the way for shots, with a total of 10 but, once more, Coutinho proved superior to Sturridge, registering more than double the number of attempts (9 to 4) and also bettering the former Chelsea star for efforts inside the area, by 4 to 3. Yet again, though, Suarez proved superior to his team-mates with a total of 7 harvesting a couple of goals.

When assessing the overall impact, it’s obvious that Fulham’s dire defence played a real part in such an improvement. At the same time, though, Coutinho’s stats, relative to his fellow Liverpool players, bode well for future returns and clearly show the weekend blank was somewhat unfortunate.

The data merely emphasises Suarez remains a phenomenon and is head and shoulders above his team-mates but the fit-again Brazilian not only looks a real differential option for our five-man midfields (at 8.5 in Fantasy Premier League, with a 5% ownership) he may well prove an alternative to Sturridge as a route into Rodgers’ side ahead of that upcoming schedule.

*The Technical Area is put together using the statistics and maps available in our members area. For access to such data and tools on every player, team and match of the 2013/14 season, and for exclusive members articles like this, click here for details.

925 Comments Post a Comment
  1. NATSTER | The Shuffling
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    2 years, 8 months ago

    West Ham scored 3 against Spurs. Why can't Aguero?

    I'm not so confident in City without Silva though.

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    1. Scottys Army
        2 years, 8 months ago

        spot on sir

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      • r0nh
          2 years, 8 months ago

          Man City can score against anybody!!

          Except Sunderland.

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          1. NATSTER | The Shuffling
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            2 years, 8 months ago

            It's away game RonH. They are usually different at home.

            Hope they sort out how to attack without Silva.

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      • r0nh
          2 years, 8 months ago

          Did sore-ass score in the 5-0 win?

          Was he even playing?

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          1. TM - LMS 18487-7273
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • Has Moderation Rights
            2 years, 8 months ago

            Played 80, didn't score

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            1. r0nh
                2 years, 8 months ago

                Sell, sell, sell!!!

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                1. TM - LMS 18487-7273
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • Has Moderation Rights
                  2 years, 8 months ago

                  You first.

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          2. Blue Moon Rising
              2 years, 8 months ago

              A) Silva to Ramsey
              B) Siggy to ?
              C) Wildcard?

              Migs Price

              B. Turner Ivanovic Coleman Chico Chester

              Silva Ozil Sigurdson Morrison Brady

              Sturridge Aguero Lukaku

              1FT 1.4 in the bank

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              1. Wilshere Knowledge
                  2 years, 8 months ago

                  Certainly don't WC.

                  How about A, and then Siggy to Hazard?

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                • NATSTER | The Shuffling
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  2 years, 8 months ago

                  Get non-playing out first, so Silva out.

                  Ramsey is not bad choice as you can use the money to upgrade Sturridge/Lukaku to Suarez/Rooney.

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                • FORCA INTER
                    2 years, 8 months ago

                    i would wc

                    Suarez is a MUST

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                • FORCA INTER
                    2 years, 8 months ago

                    jones is at 4 yc as well , talk me about Evans in that case?

                    how nailed on is he? dunno why but i would like to have evans/jones over festive period

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                    1. Evs
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • Has Moderation Rights
                      2 years, 8 months ago

                      It's because they have nice Welsh surnames :-)

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                      1. FORCA INTER
                          2 years, 8 months ago

                          my main target is GJ still....

                          can't stand ivanovic in my team no more

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                          1. A.
                              2 years, 8 months ago

                              But you kept talking him up, how he's so much better than Terry

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                              1. FORCA INTER
                                  2 years, 8 months ago

                                  wow , never said that! i've been saying how terry is brillinat who season

                                  but did take a gamble on WC cause i was feel that points swing is around the corrner

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                          2. Wilshere Knowledge
                              2 years, 8 months ago

                              Vidic is nailed when fit, so then you have Evans and Ferdinand competing for the other spot. (Jones and Smalling don't get to play there yet really) I can't see Rio being benched every game to be honest, so I wouldn't risk it.

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                            • Parm
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              2 years, 8 months ago

                              Evans is probably the most nailed on of the United centre-halfs with Jones in midfield at times, Smalling at Right-back and Ferdinand not playing/injured/dropped/getting old along with Vidic being rotated.

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                              1. Kostja
                                  2 years, 8 months ago

                                  I disagree strongly. Ferdinand Vidic still the first choice pairing when fit. Will get rotated this year more for sure, but will play the important games.

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                                  1. Parm
                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                    2 years, 8 months ago

                                    Obviously, but with Ferdinand not even making the bench in the past two league matches something must be up with him.

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                                    1. Kostja
                                        2 years, 8 months ago

                                        He was hurt, and just started training before the last game. No point to put him on the bench if he would not be used off the bench to risk problems. If there was an issue we probably would have heard of it from his twitter account 😀

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                                • Bubz
                                    2 years, 8 months ago

                                    Wouldn't you rather have evra? He is absolutely nailed on and gets into attacking positions. With busy xmas period I wouldn't want any ManU CB, none is nailed on enough.

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                                    1. Kostja
                                        2 years, 8 months ago

                                        kind of agree with this

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                                    2. Leaf
                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                      2 years, 8 months ago

                                      Rafael is the one to get when fit

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                                  • Wilshere Knowledge
                                      2 years, 8 months ago

                                      As it's slow, any thoughts on my team?

                                      Boruc (Davis)
                                      Clyne Terry Chico (Chester, Burner)
                                      Ozil Ramsey Cazorla Hazard (Januzaj)
                                      Suarez Benteke Lukaku

                                      2.0m ITB, 1 FT

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                                      1. thegeezer
                                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                        2 years, 8 months ago

                                        Ozil, Ramsey, Caz

                                        LOL

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                                        1. Wilshere Knowledge
                                            2 years, 8 months ago

                                            What can I say? I'm an Arsenal fan 😉

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                                        2. Bubz
                                            2 years, 8 months ago

                                            3 Arsenal midfielders seems overkill. Pick one to get rid and get Gerrard/Cout get Sessengnon and upgrade Benteke or Lukaku to Rooney or Aguero.

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                                            1. Bubz
                                                2 years, 8 months ago

                                                or get*

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                                              • Wilshere Knowledge
                                                  2 years, 8 months ago

                                                  I'm worried Sessengon is going to end the same way as Erikson, Moses, Arnatovic, Amalfitano etc, just being a problem down the line. He seems to have started a very sudden bandwagon, and I don't really get it.

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                                                  1. Bubz
                                                      2 years, 8 months ago

                                                      Its just because he shows great stats and has some good fixtures coming up including a possibly high scoring derby. Plus WBA look a decent side this year. Low ownership too. I don't see it as much of a risk because there's plenty of other cheapish mids that he can be easily shipped out and replaced with.

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                                                      1. Wilshere Knowledge
                                                          2 years, 8 months ago

                                                          Cheers BUBZ. Food for thought.

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                                                  2. Leaf
                                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                    2 years, 8 months ago

                                                    If you changed Ozil to theo could you then upgrade lukaku to Rooney

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                                                    1. Wilshere Knowledge
                                                        2 years, 8 months ago

                                                        Yh, I noticed that works perfectly, but I can't bear to get rid of Ozil! 😀

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                                                  3. rozzo
                                                      2 years, 8 months ago

                                                      Glad that suarez will be at the world cup next year hopefully, been massively impressed with him so far this season and for large parts of last.

                                                      His work rate is what wins me over, always looks hungry and working hard for the team, already scored three goals and he is there giving his all to get his fourth.

                                                      Question is...is he too good for liverpool?

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                                                      1. Forever_United
                                                          2 years, 8 months ago

                                                          He can easily walk into the best team in Europe atm.

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                                                        • Wilshere Knowledge
                                                            2 years, 8 months ago

                                                            He is too good for Liverpool now, but Liverpool are making steps forward. They have the infrastructure, fan base and resources to move forward if BR can get it right. I can't see him staying there long term though, especially with Real Madrid in desperate need of a striker.

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                                                          • HVT
                                                              2 years, 8 months ago

                                                              " always looks hungry " ask Ivanovich about it 😉
                                                              - Not sure if you were trolling there.

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                                                              1. rozzo
                                                                  2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                  It honestly never occured to me when i wrote it :-) lets hope he doesnt get too hungry

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                                                            • HVT
                                                                2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                Is brunt on penos for WBA ?

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                                                                1. Wilshere Knowledge
                                                                    2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                    James Morrison is on them I believe, although it's hard to say because I don't think Brunt has played very much.

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                                                                    1. HVT
                                                                        2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                        Yea but Morrisson is now in and out of the team and brunt has played the last few after his injury ,
                                                                        Everybody's looking at Sess but Chris could become a real option at 5.0 and fixtures to boot.

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                                                                        1. Wilshere Knowledge
                                                                            2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                            Could be a good option. I wouldnt be relying on pens though, as I think even Dorrans is ahead of them when he plays, so it's a bit of a lottery. I think you'd have to be desperate for a differential to risk it though. I see 30+ players with injuries as inevitable casualties.

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                                                                            1. HVT
                                                                                2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                Nor , car , Hull all in dec ....

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                                                                                1. Spineless Weasel
                                                                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                                  2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                  I'm considering getting him in for Sess if I need to downgrade, but my memories of Brunt are that he's really annoying to own

                                                                                  I know you've been bigging up his stats, where did you look?

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                                                                                    • 2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                      You all realise this is a wind up? HVT is Chris Brunt.

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                                                                        2. FORCA INTER
                                                                            2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                            A) keep Ivanovic

                                                                            B) get GJ

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                                                                            1. Bubz
                                                                                2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                A

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                                                                              • HVT
                                                                                  2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                  Other defs ? ( hard to judge when you put it like that )

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                                                                                  1. FORCA INTER
                                                                                      2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                      Pieters , Rat , Clyne , Rosonier (i am happy with all of them)

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                                                                                      1. Bubz
                                                                                          2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                          Whos your keeper?

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                                                                                          1. FORCA INTER
                                                                                              2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                              Harper and Vorm

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                                                                                              1. HVT
                                                                                                  2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                                  Who are your strikers ?

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                                                                                                  1. La Roja
                                                                                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                                                    2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                                    Who is on the bench

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                                                                                                  2. FORCA INTER
                                                                                                      2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                                      Aguero , Suarez , Rooney

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                                                                                                      1. HVT
                                                                                                          2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                                          Mf ?

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                                                                                                          1. FORCA INTER
                                                                                                              2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                                              Ravel , Brady , Hazard , Sess , Couthino

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                                                                                                              1. HVT
                                                                                                                  2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                                                  You can afford to keep Ivan but he's not delivering this year is he ?
                                                                                                                  I would just fancy GJ (gut) for some reason but both are good tbh.
                                                                                                                  B if I was pushed

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                                                                                                        • Bubz
                                                                                                            2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                                            I would rather have Evra than either of GJ or Ivan

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                                                                                                  3. La Roja
                                                                                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                                                                    2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                                    A

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                                                                                                • Alejo - CFC
                                                                                                    2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                                    Suarez or Aguero for the armband?

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                                                                                                    1. lifes a pitch
                                                                                                        2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                                        Out of them 2 Suarez. But I don't think its gonna be that big a return. Have you any other option?

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                                                                                                        1. Gabantoya
                                                                                                            2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                                            Suarez may be fatigue from international game. Aguero is safer bet.

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                                                                                                      • New Article Posted: The Big Numbers
                                                                                                      • zotter
                                                                                                          2 years, 8 months ago

                                                                                                          A good old RMT please!

                                                                                                          Harper (Migs)
                                                                                                          Chester. GJ. Zab (Coleman. Dawson)
                                                                                                          Janusaz. Ramsey. Hazard. Oscar. (Townsedn)
                                                                                                          Aguero. Suarez. Benteke

                                                                                                          £0.4 bank. No FTs!!

                                                                                                          Ta

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