Philippe Coutinho: Central Midfielder?

Philippe Coutinho: Central Midfielder?

Philippe Coutinho turned in an absolute masterclass on Sunday afternoon, scoring twice, assisting Daniel Sturridge for the opening goal, creating five other chances for his team-mates and generally wreaking havoc on the West Ham back-line. And he did so from a deeper position in central midfield, whereas generally all season Coutinho has played on the left hand side of Liverpool’s front three. Naturally, his revelatory performance in that position has caused people to suggest that he should play there more …
Philippe Coutinho and the Value of Stats

Philippe Coutinho and the Value of Stats

I am a massive fan of stats. I am unabashedly a proponent of using stats to bolster analysis wherever possible, and I think that people who generally tend to avoid stats are missing a trick. Of course stats don’t tell you the entire picture, and there’s no substitute for simply watching the game but nevertheless stats are a valuable addition to any sort of football analysis, which is why it’s often frustrating that most pundits don’t fully utilise them, or …
How Has James Milner Really Done at Left-Back?

How Has James Milner Really Done at Left-Back?

At the start of the week I penned an article discussing the Liverpool players in the running for the club’s Player of the Year award. I chose five - Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson - and gave honourable mentions to Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner. The reaction to Milner’s inclusion brought the most divisive response of the lot, and it perfectly sums up why the 31-year-old will forever split opinion. He has always been …
Stats Analysis: Midfield Trios and Life Without Lallana

Stats Analysis: Midfield Trios and Life Without Lallana

*The stats in the article are gathered manually from Squawka. Minutes include stoppage time. Offensive, Defensive and Net rating are the totals per 100 minutes.  Last week I tried to analyse the performance of the different defensive lineups Jurgen Klopp has used this season. You can find the article here. With unfortunate events during the international break let's have a look at how Liverpool's midfield has done so far this season. Consistency There have been some injuries in midfield this …
Predicting The Final Top Six: Where Will Liverpool Finish?

Predicting The Final Top Six: Where Will Liverpool Finish?

Chelsea may be cruising towards the Premier League title in a frustratingly ruthless fashion, but there is still a huge amount to fight for at the top of the table. Granted, securing a top-four finish should never be seen as a giant achievement for a club of Liverpool’s stature, but being in next season’s Champions League is of huge importance. Rarely has the battle to qualify for Europe’s most lucrative and rewarding club competition been so exciting and unpredictable, with …
Is James Milner a Good Left-Back?

Is James Milner a Good Left-Back?

Daniel Sturridge: Give the Man a Break!

Daniel Sturridge: Give the Man a Break!

In a recent interview, Daniel Sturridge claimed that he believed he was Liverpool's best striker. Yet in the comments section below the online article, a debate raged over Sturridge again, with familiar words and phrases banded around. A select few are below: Arrogant Selfish Injury prone Poor attitude Incompatible Once again, Daniel Sturridge is criticised and hounded for doing next to nothing. It's about time we give this player a break. Daniel Sturridge, since arriving to the club has, in my …
Where Data Meet Tactics: Ball Retention and Loss of Possession

Where Data Meet Tactics: Ball Retention and Loss of Possession

These words were written to accompany the following graphic, and provide further context to the data. https://twitter.com/AIUnderPressure/status/804631753591816192 Working Out The first important piece of context regarding this graphic is that it’s not based on passes. It’s based on losses of possession due to a poor touch or an unsuccessful dribble. The numbers were calculated by dividing losses of possession by total touches. As the graphic says: it indicates ball retention by looking at the number of touches per lost ball, …
Why Don't People Consider Firmino to be a Complete Striker?

Why Don't People Consider Firmino to be a Complete Striker?

Originally, a False 9 was a lone striker who, instead of staying high up the pitch like a traditional striker, would drop into midfield and look to drag the centre-back pairing into areas they weren't comfortable in to enable teammates to exploit the space they had created. Cesc Fabregas played it for Spain. Pep Guardiola used Lionel Messi in that role. Francesco Totti excelled in it for Roma. Even Manchester United used a variation of it with when they had Wayne …
Philippe Coutinho: The League's Best Playmaker?

Philippe Coutinho: The League's Best Playmaker?

Jurgen Klopp's Reds are enjoying an international break looking at all the teams in the Premier League being below them on the table. Liverpool are playing some irresistible attacking football at the moment. That has led to an unbeaten run that stretches back to August 20th, when the Reds were humbled at Turf Moor. At the heart of the Red resurrection this season has been that diminutive Brazilian magician, Philippe Coutinho. It is a much-repeated line that Liverpool are a …
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