13 Oct 2016

Madness? Legend insists 'amazing' €48m Liverpool star should play out of position vs. Man Utd

'Amazing' Liverpool attacker Philippe Coutinho played in central midfield during Liverpool's recent victory over Swansea, and according to Reds legend John Aldridge, Jurgen Klopp should continue this experiment against Man Utd.

In his column this week for the Liverpool Echo, Aldo insisted:

"If Lallana isn’t fit for United, I’d play Coutinho^ in a central midfield role. It’s a freer role compared to when he’s on the left, where his influence can be limited. Coutinho can flourish in that position".

I may be in the minority, but I totally disagree with this. If Coutinho plays in central midfield, he will immediately have more defensive responsibilities, and that means he'll have to spend more time tackling, tracking, and running after players.

Against Swansea, for example, Coutinho made more tackles and blocks than any other player (including the defenders!), and after contributing 7 goals/assists in the previous 7 games, he drew a blank in the final third.

Liverpool won the game, but I'd hate to see this become the pattern for Coutinho. The idea of the Coutinho in central midfield is attractive, but in Klopp's system, it will not work (IMO) because he'll eventually become bogged down with defensive/pressing work (plus, he'll probably get injured more).

Just look at Wijnaldum - by his own admission, his best position is the number-10 role, but Klopp has him playing as a central midfielder, and compared to last season, his creativity has been seriously curtailed (0 goals/2 assists in 8 games).

Coutinho's main focus should be on scoring/creating goals, not tackling, blocks, and tracking central midfielders across the pitch. He's hit the ground running this season, so why disrupt his momentum by changing his position?

What next? Play Lallana, Firmino, and Coutinho together in central midfield?

^ £48m-rated (CIES Football observatory)

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