Phil Coutinho – Liverpool’s Magician Pulling Off Tricks More Consistently


On Friday, Jamie Carragher in his column for Daily Mail lavished praise on Philippe Coutinho. He says, he was not sure if Coutinho would be successful on the big stage but now believes he can fit into any of Liverpool’s Premier League rivals and enhance their performances. He tweeted out his column saying:

“I used to laugh when I saw Philippe Coutinho linked with #Real Madrid now I’m worried!” – Jamie Carragher on Twitter

Well if anybody disagreed with Carra’s assessment of Coutinho’s current form, after Saturday’s performance at Selhurst Park, they too would be inclined to agree vehemently. He was brilliant on Saturday, with 4 shots – 3 of which induced saves from Palace’s goalkeeper Mandanda and created four chances – two of which turned out to be assists for Lovren and Matip. He attempted 9 dribbles, getting past opponents in three and put in eight tackles, again recovering the ball thrice. All fantasy managers know that getting two assists from a midfielder is a rare event and this fellow did it for the eighth time.  Liverpool have won in all eight instances. So, Real Madrid would indeed be more interested after performances such as this.

Brilliant But Inconsistent

As of today, he has played 8,822 minutes for Liverpool in 117 appearances, scoring 25 goals and providing 28 assists. That is a goal or assist almost every other game – across five seasons. In the current season, he is delivering a goal (scoring or assisting) every 94 minutes i.e. almost every game. As I said before, absolutely brilliant.

But before this season, and especially over the last two seasons, Liverpool fans and football pundits thought of Coutinho as quite inconsistent. He would score a brilliant screamer from outside the box in one game and create several chances but will be difficult to find on the pitch in the next. If we look at his Squawka scores from 2014-15 onwards, this becomes very evident:


We can spot few instances of 3-match runs where his score remains stable or is increasing. Otherwise, you could rarely see him improve his score from a relatively high score (~47, which is 75th percentile and above). In other words, he was unable to deliver great performances week after week on a consistent basis. So is he completely average? Not worthy of Real Madrid?

This Season

Not at all. In his current form, I agree with Carra – he is as good as any advanced midfielder in the league and among the best in Europe. As I said above, he is either scoring or assisting a goal almost every match in this season, while overall he has been doing it every other match. To put that into perspective, he has already delivered 8 goals (scored 4, assisted 4) in ten games this season, which is much better than 13 (8, 5) in 26 games last season or 10 (5, 5) in 35 games in 2014-15. It is even better than 12 (5, 7) that he delivered for Rodgers’ rampaging Liverpool of 2013-14. While the Squawka scores chart looks similarly topsy turvy, the troughs this season are not as bad as troughs in the previous two.


His average performance score has increased to 54 this season, while it was ~ 24 and 29 in last two seasons. So, he has improved his level and he is also delivering goals more regularly.

But to be fair to him, his performances have improved since Jurgen Klopp took over from Rodgers at Liverpool.

Manager Impact

It seems that Coutinho is one of those Liverpool players whose performances have improved significantly after Klopp took over. His average Squawka performance score has almost doubled to ~40 under the German from 23 under Rodgers. The number of negative scores has also dropped under Klopp but performances, at least in 2015-16, remained inconsistent.

Whether it is Klopp’s personality that is bringing the better side of Coutinho out, or whether it is the tactical style, Liverpool fans won’t care. They will care about the fact that their magician is pulling out rabbits out of his hat more often and that bigger stages (clubs) are noticing.

But it seems, for Coutinho to perform well consistently, Klopp is required. That means Real Madrid must buy them both. Now that is one scary prospect.


  1. Counting this season is fabulous,his pouches, moves and dribble has been fantastic he will go far with Liverpool rather than Real Madrid.

  2. Yep agreed. I just hope that when it comes to making that call, Coutinho sees the potential to be remembered as a great, he has at Liverpool vs. the possible oblivion at Real Madrid.

  3. Yeah, he has always been a super skillede performer.
    Just what he needs from any coach is support/confidence plus freedom to move on the turf. liverpoolers were rather late to recognize that, that´s all.
    He now has both of them in the club and also in the brazilian national team.
    Give him those two things putting him into Barcelona replacing no less than Messi and in several weeks I bet he can substitute the argentinian and won´t perform too far below him. It is simply a matter of training – provided you have the capabilities and Coutinho has them.


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