15 Aug 2015

Redknapp: Forget Hazard/Rooney. 'Incredible' £25m Liverpool star can be Prem's 'best'. Agree?

Last Sunday, Liverpool attacker Philippe Coutinho scored a vital winning goal for Liverpool, but only a few days later, the ecstacy turned to agony as Brazil manager Dunga dumped him from the national squad. From the sublime to the ridiculous in the space of a week, but Coutinho remains vitally important to Liverpool, and Ex-Red Jamie Redknapp insists the £25m-rated attacker can go on to become the the standout attacker in the Premier League.

After being unceremniously exorcised from the Brazil team, Dunga delivered the following withering retort after being pressed to explain Coutinho's snub:

"We gave Coutinho a chance at the Copa America. You cannot just build a team with youngsters"

Ouch. It seems like Coutinho's chances of becoming a regular for Brazil just took a major hit. He probably won't have similar issues at Liverpool.

The Brazilian is an integral part of Brendan Rodgers' plans, and according to Redknapp, he is capable of exceeding the likes of David Silva, and Eden Hazard.

In his column for the Daily Mail this week, Redknapp enthused:

"That was an incredible strike [against Stoke], and there is no reason why Philippe Coutinho can’t be the best No 10 in the country"

Coutinho has the talent to become the best, but unless the Brazilian improves his goals/assists record, he'll never scale the heights for Liverpool, or indeed for Brazil.

When it comes to being the Premier League's best number-10, the following players are (arguably) Coutinho's fiercest competition: Silva, Hazard, Rooney, Eriksson, Mata, and Ozil.

As you can see from the stats for the last two years, all of the above players are significantly more productive than Coutinho:

* Rooney: 33 goals/28 assists (61) in 77 apps (Goal/assist every 1.3 games | 1 every 107 mins)

* Silva: 20 goals/30 assists (50) in 81 apps (Goal/assist every 1.6 games | 1 every 125 mins)

* Eriksen: 24 goals/19 assists (43) in 89 apps (Goal/assist every 2.1 games | 1 every 126 mins)

* Hazard: 36 goals/23 assists (59) in 101 apps (Goal/assist every 1.7 games | 1 every 141 mins)

* Ozil: 12 goals/23 assists (35) in 74 apps (Goal/assist every 2.1 games | 1 every 160 mins)

* Mata: 18 goals/11 assists (29) in 67 apps (Goal/assist every 2.3 games | 1 every 164 mins)

* Coutinho: 13 goals/14 assists (27) in 89 apps (Goal/assist every 3.3 games | 1 every 247 mins)

Coutinho is acutely aware of the need to improve.

* Jan 2014: He told LFC.com: "Sometimes my positioning is not the best and I need to improve that to score more goals"

* Mar 2015. In an interview with the Daily Mail, he mused: "I have not improved yet. In the position I play, I need to score goals to help the team and create plays. Therefore I must improve my goalscoring skills"

* May 2015: Coutinho told the Liverpool Echo: "There is still a lot of room for improvement. I want to score and create more goals and do more for Liverpool"

Coutinho clearly has a long way to go before he can be labelled the 'best' number-10 in the country. In terms of end product, is he capable of matching, or exceeding Rooney, Hazard et al?

Author: Jaimie K


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