Why Liverpool are missing Coutinho’s long-range goals

Date published: Monday 4th March 2019 2:27

Philippe Coutinho Liverpool

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You don’t shoot, you don’t score
As a Liverpool fan watching the Merseyside derby on Sunday, I realised long before the final whistle that it wasn’t going to be our day.

It wasn’t so much the fact that we didn’t score that annoyed me so much but the fact that no-one tried anything different.
I then tried to remember the last time we scored a goal of significance from outside the penalty area.  A quick google search and there you have it, a paltry total of 4 for the whole season.  To put it in context, Huddersfield have scored the same whilst City have scored 12.  In 15/16 and 16/17 seasons Liverpool topped this stat and then suddenly it dropped off a cliff – probably coinciding with Philippe Coutinho‘s departure.
Even the mere threat of someone on the edge of the penalty area who is prepared to have a go gives defending teams something else to think about.

Whether it is Klopp’s instruction to keep the ball, players not having the confidence to try it or that they just aren’t good enough at it when they do try it, it is a worry.  Souness made the point at half time that Pickford was having it too easy and the second half performance showed it again.
Michael, Belfast


Everton v Liverpool
Excellent monday morning to everyone,

I usually agree with most of the 16 conclusions you write, but this time was bit of an exception:
– You wrote that Everton deserved a draw and were not outclassed by Liverpool. This was very much the case in their first encounter and Everton would have deserved atleast a draw, probably a win. This time around, Liverpool were clearly better in the first half and could / should have been atleast 1-0 up. Second half Everton improved a lot and it was a even half. Mo Salah had two excellent scoring chances and Fabinho one. Everton didn’t create much themselves. Poor finishing and dallying with ball cost Liverpool this game. But since they should have dropped points in earlier encounter, they shouldn’t feel too hard done by.

– Also Keane was not the best defender on the pitch, majestic Van Dijk was. Everton and Keane relied on last ditch tackles when they were late initially whereas Van Dijk marshalled Liverpools defence without fuzz. I think Maldini said something along the lines that good defenders don’t have to tackle and that is very much the case with Van Dijk. Also comparing his leadership with  Henderson who seems to shout at referees and opposition players even when clearly there has been no foul, Van Dijk is like a cool parent taking care of children in amusement park. It’s chaotic out there, children want to run headlessly around but he takes care of sh*t and they all leave home together, often happy. It will be a travesty if he doesn’t win player of the season even if Liverpool wouldn’t win the title. And I am not even a Liverpool fan.
Matti Katara, Helsinki


Perspective and positivity
Firstly, several times this year I have stated that City are the most likely team to win the league… that still stands but there are a few signs now that LFC can actually do it.

1. LFC are a (mane) goal post away from being undefeated on the season.
2. They are unbeaten at home in 35 league games
3. They have played their two fiercest rivals and taken 4 points from 6 against each
4. They have played all of the top 6 away from home , taking a point at Chelsea and Arsenal and 3 at Spurs, City being the one defeat
5.They have the best defense in the league
6. They were 25 points behind City last season.. to be within one at this stage is a miracle.
7. City have injuries to key players at the wrong time..Fernandinho, De Bruyne and La Porte.
8.City have lost 4 league games out of 29 suggesting they will lose at least one more by seasons end.
9 . City’s fixture list is longer than Liverpool’s

Yes drawing games rather than winning them does drop you points but Klopp has learnt and taken a leaf out of Jose’s book . Win your home games against your major rivals and don’t lose away. This is textbook apart from City which could turn out to be the difference. So the neutrals thought we should have won yesterday due to Mo’s missed chances but we won at Anfield when we probably shouldn’t have done…

Keep going lads
DL, LFC , Geneva


North London derby
Football is a funny old game, isn’t it? Arsenal supporters are up in arms about decisions against them yet at the match it appeared, to Spurs fans, that the ref was absolutely abject too.

I lost count of the number of times the ref ignored Kane being manhandled yet blew up at any sign of contact from Llorente or Kane when in the same situation.

Leno channelled his inner Joe Hart and took up to a minute at a time to take a goal-kick – often appearing to take it before retreating. Weirdly it all started once Ramsey had scored. It’s a bit unbecoming of a team like Arsenal to time waste from the 15th minute. The ref did the square of sod all aside from tell them to hurry up once, and then fail to reprimand them when it continued.

Vertonghen encroached for penalty that should never have been? So did two Arsenal players for Kane’s. The difference is Kane didn’t take a pathetic penalty.

I suppose the point is this; the officials were poor all round but I really prefer it that way to VAR coming in and removing human error, after all, it’s what makes it fun, controversial and part of the reason I, at least, love the game.

Also – the atmosphere felt like an old school derby as opposed to what Wembley often feels like, a tourist destination.


John Nic is missing a crucial point…
Whilst I understand the sentiment behind John Nicholson’s piece, he seems to missing a key driver of professional pride: Challenge.

It’s highly likely that Rodgers no longer felt challenged at Celtic, and indeed also felt that the perception of the Celtic as an unchallenging job was damaging his credibility. For me, both of those things are completely understandable: Any job that becomes a cakewalk for too long will make you bored, and if your successes in said job are shrugged off as par for the course by your peers then you’re going to want to do something that reminds everybody in your industry that you are actually a high-level operative.

I understand JN’s views on on Premier League, but it can become something of a trope to continue to tar the the league and the people in it with this “it’s all about money” brush –  indeed, doing so whilst using the (perception based) value of romance and excitement as a counterpoint only adds to these sense that he’s ignoring the understandable ambitions of those who work in modern football. People’s job satisfaction is personal and unique to them, we shouldn’t really criticise if their choices don’t happen to match with our own values.

Also…he misses how Rodger’s decision being perceivably disrespectful and annoying lots of Celtic fans is….well, it’s really funny, John, you have to admit that!
Stu (maybe Storey should become a physio if he’s that concerned with the physical well-being of players), London


So John Nicholson has dangled the bait…..and you know what I’m gonna bite.

First, the worse thing you can do in a debate is try and provoke your responses to anger by calling them ‘idiotic’. It doesn’t meant you’ve automatically won.

Secondly, you can’t go on the defensive by damning your opponent with feint praise.

But the real issue is is Celtic a more appealing prospect than the Premier League.

We know the answer if you’re a player, obviously not. The money is better and the profile is higher. You get to play with and against some of the best players in the world.

Taking the scalp of Manchester United? Well that shirt would be framed on my wall. Rangers are the only rival that may get that treatment and has hardly been a challenge in recent years.

But of course this comes down to ‘are Leicester a bigger club than Celtic?’. Well of course they are, is that answer to do with money? Absolutely.

The money argument is thrown in our faces like it shouldn’t make a difference. ‘We’d be as big as any EPL club if we had your cash!’. Yeah, but no what you ain’t got it.

Rodgers has the chance to sign some really big players and show them off on the worlds biggest stage.

This is not to say that Scottish Football matches aren’t entertaining. Hell a pub game can be entertaining and of course the Premiership has some duff games.

BUT the Premiership has some of the best players in the world playing against each other.

So to paraphrase Chris Sutton, are Celtic bigger than Leicester City? Hell, Leicester reserves are bigger than Celtic.
Rob (Cancelled my conference in Glasgow in May now)


Undoubtedly a step down?
Undoubtedly a step down? It’s not a question of is it a step down it’s a question of ambition and how far can he take either club surely?  Would VVD have got his move to Liverpool if he didn’t move to Southampton first?

Rodgers has done fantastic at Celtic albeit with a poor Rangers team but none the less FANTASTIC. Can he take them any further? Probably not… can he improve Leicester’s fortunes? Possibly, I’d be disappointed if any manager did not believe they could improve the current dross that has been happening at the King Power.  There is no doubt that the Old Firm clubs are bigger jobs than the majority of clubs around Europe never mind Britain including Leicester and arguably every club in England besides the Top 6 and even some of them are open to debate, but he has already conquered Scotland already won the trophy’s and has unfinished business in England.

Although it’s nice to see a positive piece on Scottish football its very naïve to assume those Kilmarnock players on £1000 a week wouldn’t jump at the chance to play in the premier league same goes for their manager Steve Clarke just because English football has ‘lost its soul’.  The challenge, the money, the fame, the money, the stadiums, the money would be too big an opportunity to turn down just because they believe Scottish football clubs still represent their local communities.

Scottish football has huge problems from investment to coaching, from grass roots to board rooms, sectarianism to racism and more however, Scottish football is raw, its passionate and the fans are ‘proper fans’ loyal season ticket holders love their club/players both past and present/coaches alike, know their history and live for Saturdays.  Celtic have demonstrated for Rodgers and the rest of us the good and the bad about Scottish football, Rodgers has won major honours, has coached in massive European legs against the best clubs in the world, he has had the pressure of expectations at a big club and passed with flying colours… now the bad, the hate the Celtic fans hold for a man who 6 months ago could have walked into their local pub and not have to put his hand in his pocket to singing ‘those songs’ and ‘holding that banner’, not to mention the social media threats and disgust exemplifies what is wrong at that club and shows he made the right decision leaving when he did.

The tribalism in Scottish football is insane both good and bad and Rodgers might feel he needs away from that, he has been tortured by rival fans not just on match days.  There had been whispers of his name mentioned at Arsenal and Chelsea however they never materialised to anything serious because of his credentials, they seem to be overlooked in the rest of the football world outside Scotland.  If he wants to win more trophy’s in other leagues or further his progression in Europe he needs a ‘stepping stone’, if he had have waited until the end of the season he would be a few more months behind for prepping for next season and it’s not as if Celtic won’t win the league this season anyway so the bitterness from Celtic I find is appalling and unnecessary .  Leicester have a good young squad, are crying out for some sort of positive football at the King Power and have got far larger pulling power to coach the better players than Celtic do, it was a no brainer the timing could not have been any better.

A step down? He will be butting heads with some of the best most decorated managers on the planet right now, can realistically finish anywhere between 6th and 20th next season as opposed to 1st or 2nd, has a much larger pool of players to pick from as in transfers and Leicester are building a new state of the art training ground where he will be coaching much more capable players… do me a favour.
Dave, Belfast


Okay, I’ll bite,

Bobby says City players have “never even been in a final….”, here are some FACTS!

Ederson – Benfica (league winner, Taca de Portugal, Taca de Liga), City (League winner, EFL cup x2)
Walker – City (League winner, EFL cup x2)
Danilo – Santos (Campeonato Paulista, Copa Libertadores), Porto (League winner x2), Real Madrid (League winner, UCL (x2), super cup, Club World Cup, City (League winner, EFL cup (x2).
Kompany – Anderlecht (League winner), City – (league winner (x3), FA cup, EFL cup (x4)
Stones – (League winner), EFL Cup
Otamendi – Porto (league winner (x3), Taca de Portugal, Europa League, City (league winner, EFL Cup (x3)
Laporte – Athletic (Supercopa), City (league winner, EFL Cup (x2)
Mendy – Monaco (League winner), City (league winner) France (World Cup)
Gundogan – Dortmund (League winner, DFB Pokal, DFL Supercup, City (League winner, EFL Cup x2)
de Bruyne – Genk (League winner, Belgian Cup Wolfsburg (DFB Pokal, City (League winner, EFL Cup x3)
Bernardo – Benfica (League winner, Taca de Portugal, Taca de Liga), Monaco (League winner), City (League winner, EFL Cup x2)
Fernandinho – Shakhtar (League winner x 6, UEFA Cup, City (league winner x2, League cup x4).
Silva – Valencia (Copa del rey), City (League winner x3, FA Cup, EFL Cup x4), World Cup, Euro’s x2)
Jesus – Palmeiras (Campeonato Brasileiro, Copa do Brasil, City (League winner, EFL Cup)
Sane – City (League winner, EFL Cup x2)
Mahrez – Leicester (League winner, Championship), City-EFL Cup
Sterling – City (League winner, EFL Cup x2)
Aguero – Atletico (Europa League, Super Cup), City (League winner x3, EFL Cup x4, Olympic Gold medal
Pep – Barca (as a player) League winner x6, Copa del rey, European Cup, UEFA Cup Winners Cup, European Super Cup, (as a manager) League winner x3, Copa del Rey x2, Supercopa de Espana x3, UCL x2, Super Cup, Club World Cup, Spain U-23 Olympic Gold Medal, Bayern (League winner x3, DFB Pokal x2, Super cup, Club World Cup, City (League winner, EFL cup x2)

Say what you want about who is going to win this or that, talk about blue seats even though your attendances are less than City’s, but don’t speak utter nonsense about not being in finals, City’s squad have been there in spades.

I’ll agree with you on one thing Mr Bobby, the fanbase ARE odd, which other team would have attendances of 30,000 in the domestic third tier? That is completely beyond me.

Lots of love,
Rafa Benitez.


Man City tactical fouling
It’s been noted before, most recently this morning with Fernandinho’s penchant for tactical fouling and last week in which Guardiola was compared to a water polo coach, but something should really be done about Man City and their tactical fouling.

They are not alone in doing it, but they are amongst the most obvious. It is something which has followed Guardiola around at his clubs, but he never gets called out on it. Despite having 80 percent possession, 18 shots to Bournemouth’s zero and 12 corners to Bournemouth’s zero, they commited just as many fouls.

A team with 4 times as much possession shouldn’t be committing as many fouls as the opposition team. A week previously they outfouled chelsea by 22 to 7 but received fewer bookings.They outfouled Rotharam and Burton over their fixtures despite the domination and 17-0 aggregate scoreline. It’s another tactic in that they take turns in fouling, doing them in non attacking areas, completely kill play and quickly get their shape back. There are of course example where they are outfouled, West Ham and Everton, but these seem to be the exception rather than the rule. They most commonly match the opposition team for fouls or completely outfoul them despite their possession domination.

I’ve never really warmed to Guardiola’s football, and this is probably why. For all the flair, skill and precision their is a deeply cynical undercurrent into how they play without the ball. The sooner they are punished with bookings the better. In Rugby, if a team continually infringes, they will be punished. In football it seems to have to be the same player collecting a number of fouls, unless they have a reputation.
Pete F, Eire


Klopp’s pragmatism will win the title
Beg to differ with this morning’s mailbox. In a similar situation during the last title hunt Liverpool were in, they threw the players forward, got sucker punched (twice) and eventually had a meltdown. Yesterday, they kept cool heads, settled for a point and lived to fight another day. This change in approach and the flexibility to not always doing it their way will win them the title.
Sagar ( still hoping for a meltdown), Boston


Tottenham to f**k it up
Can I just say, that as a Spurs fan flying out to Germany on Tuesday morning for our game against Dortmund, that I am really scared that we are going to f*ck this up….
Damien, Tufnell Park


Lallana and Milner are….wait what?!
Hold up a second.

If we’re seriously taking Jurgen Klopp to town for being rubbish at subs (I feel like that’s a massive overreaction but hey ho) can we at least be realistic?

James Milner and Adam Lallana are not, never were and never will be even remotely the same player.
Alex, Ayr


(Blaming) the wind
To be fair, despite the numerous articles claiming so, Klopp didn’t actually blame the wind for Liverpool not being able to win the game, he was just mentioning the conditions made it difficult for both teams. He didn’t say it worked in Everton’s favour, or that Liverpool didn’t win because of it, so the point in 16 conclusions that “How did Everton manage to circumvent the conditions is a mystery” is a bit weird given that they got the exact same result as Liverpool did.

He is (should be) bright enough to know, however, that mentioning things like this are going to be the headlines makers – so perhaps it’s his way of deflecting criticism and focus of the players onto himself (ala Mourinho / Ferguson – who would do it in slightly different ways).

Or maybe he is just being a bit of an idiot.

Maybe a bit of both.
Don L. Renegade


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