2 Nov 2015

Legend raves: 'Genius' £30m Liverpool star can 'become world-class' but only if he is more 'consistent'

Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho broke his 16-hour goalscoring drought on Saturday with a match-winning doubt-strike against Chelsea, but according to Man United legend Rio Ferdinand, the Brazilian still has some way to go before becoming a 'world-class' player.

Reacting to Coutinho's performance, Ferdinand told BT Sport*:

"[Coutinho] is a genius and if he can get on the ball and make things happen then he can become a world-class talent. He needs to get more consistent and he'll have more of a chance of being a world-class talent."

Everyone seems to be drinking the Coutinho kool-aid at the moment, but I'm not going to get too excited about an attacking player who's scored two goals in 16 hours of football.

Yes, both goals were fantastic, but one game doesn't define a season, and Coutinho's impact against Chelsea is the exception for him this season, not the rule.

Additionally, prior to his first goal, Coutinho was totally ineffective once again, and scoring two goals doesn't change that. However, on this occasion, scoring two goals arguably cancels out what came before; after all, his primary role is to score/create goals, and Coutinho ultimately did that (on this occasion).

I've highlighted Coutinho's inconsistency many times in the past, and in comparison to other number-10s in the Premier League, the Brazilian is bottom of the list for minutes per goal/assists.

For example: here is a stat comparison for the last two completed seasons (2013-2015):

* 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)

The figures are broadly the same this season, with Coutinho currently averaging a goal/assist every 214 minutes. That's a slight improvement on the last two years, but it's still not consistent enough for a player of his prodigious talent.

As for achieving 'world-class' status - Ferdinand suggests that Coutinho just has to perform consistently for Liverpool to be deserving of that label, but that's not enough.

In my view, Coutinho has to achieve a specific measurable impact at at three levels of football (Domestic, European, and World), and right now, he can't even achieve that for Liverpool.

Hopefully, the Chelsea double will be a catalyst for a consistent run of form, and with Liverpool in a great position in the league right now, Coutinho could play an integral part in propelling the club into the Champions League.

Last season, the likes of Coutinho, Lallana et al failed to perform and that cost Liverpool a place in the top four. History is already repeating itself with Lallana, but hopefully, the Chelsea game signals Coutinho's emancipation from his creative malaise.

* Transcribed whilst watching live

Author: Jaimie K


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