13 Dec 2013

'It will be me, or...' - £14m star reveals Spurs strategy to 'stop' Coutinho. Effective...?

After an embarrassing 6-0 drubbing by Man City in November, Tottenham Hotspur are currently in the midst of a an impressive resurgence, and with four wins in the last five games, Liverpool will undoubtedly face a tough trip to White Hart Lane on Sunday. The Reds are also on a good run, and if it's to continue against Spurs, a key player like Philippe Coutinho will have to at the top of his game. Tottenham are ready for the Brazilian, however, and seem to have specifically singled out the Brazilian for special treatment.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror this week, Spurs midfielder Sandro - who cost the club £14m - highlighted Coutinho as Liverpool's danger man; compared his style of play with Brazilian legend Ronaldinho, and outlined the London club's plan to stop him making an impact. He explained:

"Suarez is a great footballer, but it is not just him. Coutinho...is an intelligent guy. He doesn't move a lot - but his passing! You think he is going to pass here and he passes there instead.

"It will be me or Etienne Capoue who will try to stop Coutinho. I want to stop him, stop his freedom. If midfielders have freedom they can do something to hurt you. I want to be close to him and tackle him."

It sounds to me like Spurs are planning a man-marking job on Coutinho, and if that happens, it will probably be an effective strategy. Prior to his injury, Coutinho was closely marked in several Premier League games, and this definitely muted his impact. Additionally, players like Sandro and Capoue are bigger and stronger than the Brazilian, and if they stick to him like glue, the physical disparity could be telling.

Comparing Coutinho to Ronaldinho at this stage is premature to say the least (!), though as it happens, the former Barcelona star just happens to be the youngster's footballing inspiration. When asked about role models, Coutinho reiterated his admiration for one of the most exciting players of the modern era. He told the official Liverpool FC website:

"Ronaldinho has always been my idol because he is such a skilful player. I would love to play with him one day in the future".

At the age of 33, Ronaldinho is still hovering around the Brazil squad (he last played for the national team in April) so if Coutinho makes the step up over the next year, and Ronaldinho also makes the cut, it's conceivable his dream could come true.

With regards to Spurs - irrespective of any man-marking job, Coutinho has the ability and vision to find space and make that killer pass, and if he gets the chance, he will - as Sandro suggests - 'hurt' Spurs on Sunday.

Always worth seeing again:



  1. I can say that Countinho is only playmaker, if Spurs can stop him. Our chance of attack would be limited and it will all comes down to Suarez to do it. Spurs like to play counter-attack, hence we need to consider to play more defensive or more offensive. I personally would like to see LFC play more offensive because if we managed score first then we will have the advantage.

  2. It was only the one aspect that he felt was like Ronaldinho- the ability to look like the pass is going one way, whilst playing it another.
    If Allen continues to improve, he can take some of the burden of linking defence with midfield/attack away from Coutinho, giving him more space to find those pockets of space, and can occupy the Spurs midfield more. If we rely on PC on his own, then their strategy would certainly be effective

  3. Cannot say I am too worried about Spurs. They have only scored 15 goals in 15 EPL matches which is dire.

    We have been scoring first in almost all our matches so far so Spurs need to make sure that their defending is up to scratch, which it isn't...

  4. Is the moment of goals the score to secure a win or draw that make me fear of them. They always score from behind and LFC defense is not that solid. There is always room for mistake. I hope we can change that this coming match.

  5. How many of their games have been won by penalties? They are rubbish in front of goal.

  6. With all due respect; Spurs just simply arent there yet. And I know they have the ability to turn it on and I'm confident that they'll get there eventually but too many of their players are individuals and they dont work as a collective.

    Sure theyve done really well in the Europa League but when you look at the teams theyve played and money theyve spent; you'd expect that. Last night they played Anzhi who were so riddled with injuries they didnt have enough players to fill the bench. But, even with our own injuries; I still believe theyre there for the taking; and I reckon we could see some surprise goal scorers to catch spurs unawares. And we of course have Suarez' freekicks which are somewhat unstoppable if on target. A few mates of mine are Spurs fans and always think theyve this divine rite that theyre better than Liverpool. I reckon we can prove them otherwise this weekend (Y)

  7. Coutinho was invisible during many periods and his defensive duties are poor as like lucas he gives up. Hope he can slice and dice the defences for lfc tomorrow.

  8. Sounds like the Spurs strategy is to close down PC and make somebody else beat them. That is the same as saying Suarez has one to two less guys to worry about. This is a sound strategy only if Coutinho is Suarez's only supplier. Close down the service and starve Suarez. It just means others have to step up and feed Suarez. You will know if it is working if Suarez starts tracking back just to get the ball...in essence being his own #10. Hopefully this will not happen.

  9. Hendo has been quite creative as well with 26 key passes, only Gerrard & Suarez have done better with 39 & 27 and I expect an other thrilling performance from Allen.
    Liverpool have lost the last 5 away fixtures at Spurs and it's time for that to change. I feel we could win this one, same line up, Lucas comes in for Gerrard. 0-3
    Any predictions?

  10. They got another pen last night but still scored 4. I am hoping they haven't turn that corner.

  11. Is this a perfect time for Alberto? We don't yet know if he can do it or not but if Spurs are worrying about Coutinho we need a player who likes to thread balls and look for openings in attack. We need to replace Gerards creativity. how about a set up of..
    Johnson Skrtel Sakho Flanno

    Henderson Alberto Coutinho
    Hopefully those players could interchange and be fluid, it makes sure we have a lot of midfielders to contend with Spurs but allows a little more creativity. Henderson and Allen looking after the spaces Alberto and Coutinho leave.

  12. Anzhi are bottom of the Russian league. Can you imagine what Suarez would have done to a team as poor as them?

  13. The bookies, the pundits all seem to be favoring spurs on this one. I don't quite see it. It'll be tough without Gerrard, but besides Coutinho, Allen, Johnson, Sterling, Hendo, can all get creative. Coutinho can take set pieces, Suarez freekicks - it doesn't require many chances just a few good ones, if Liverpool manage 2 goals, there's very little chance of losing.
    Tottenham played midweek, and haven't managed more than 2 goals in a PL game. They have rested Sandro for this - but either way the Liverpool team that went to WHL last year was not as good as the current team (even without Gerrard) and their team is not as good. Last 5 there were lost? As someone mentioned, it's time to change that.

  14. In this case, Suarez hat trick, all from 40yds +

  15. I wasn't impressed with Totte yesterday to be honest so it will be interested. The fact of the matter is, is they can keep Suarez quite then we won't do much.

  16. People were hyping Coutinho so much! I mean he is a good player but he has not done much this season, albeit he was injured.

  17. I can see it.

    1. We are away. And we lost to Hull City two weeks ago.

    2. Spurs have won 2 league games in a row.

    3. We don't typically score goals unless they are Suarez or Sturridge. Sturridge is out.

    4. Gerrard is the Captain and combining his injury with Sturridge's injury doesn't help us.

    I believe that if we play well, LFC can certainly win. But this is no walk in the park for LFC.

  18. Good that made me feel a bit better.

  19. I thought he was brilliant in his last two games. It's less noticeable without goals and assists but I thought his all round play was great.

  20. Vertongen and Kaboul are both injured, Chiriches not certain, I wonder how they'll try to stop Suarez.

  21. Really? Hmm then we might have a chance!

  22. Walk in the park, no. Winnable, most definitely.
    Hull was an anomally, Sturridge's first game out, Coutinho out for most of it, and Suarez had an off day - probably due fatigue from all the travel, play, and the Mirallas kick.
    Spurs struggled against relegation fodder, and were lucky to get all 3 against Sunderland. Meanwhile, we destroyed those teams.
    They are at home, and are a decent team, but they are not at at the level of Everton, even United - even though their place in the table may suggest otherwise.
    Gerrard out is a hit, but there are still 10 other very capable players. It'll be close, but I see this as a win for us. 2-1.

  23. "Winnable" is definitely an appropriate term to use.

    It's going to start at the back for us. If our defense is shaky, our team will crumble quick. But if we can control possession and limit their opportunities, we're going to put ourselves in a very good position to win the match.

  24. Rodgers needs to play Sakho!!! Skrtel and Agger as a CB pair are a accident waiting to happen.