Talking tactics with Liverpool's 'magic' Ronaldinho incarnate

Liverpool's playmaking sensation lifts the lid on his improvements.

Since Philippe Coutinho joined Liverpool 13 months ago, the British press likened him to a modern Brazilian great, Ronaldinho, as the budding 21-year-old is regarded to the archetypal South American number 10… the enganche… the maker of plays and, this season, the Reds starlet has been going from strength to strength, however, it's not just his chance creating skills that he is looking to embellish, but his all-round game.

'I've been trying to improve intensity, marking and defence forms in training,' said Coutinho to the club's official website earlier today, Friday, ahead of the club's Sunder encounter against Swansea City at Anfield.

'I believe this is helpful at matches as we may take the ball from the opposition and it's easier to attack when we have more blank spaces. I've been trying to improve in this aspect. I've been trying to do this in training as well as in games. I believe this is a positive aspect at which I've been improving.'

Coutinho has attempted 44 through balls in Premier League competition thus far this season, a type of pass that the Liverpool website laud as his 'signature move'. A dozen of his attempts have been accurate, with a number of them directly leading to goals such as Daniel Sturridge's efforts against Everton and Arsenal.

Coutinho averages 65 touches per appearance (a figure somewhat distorted as he has two substitutions in his 21 apps), is accurate with 35 of his 45 pass attempts give or take, every game, with 16 of those being forward passes. Thus far, in total, he has created 37 chances (one every 43 minutes), with four assists and three goals.

PlayerTouch/ AppsTotal PassAcc PassFwd PassChanceAssistsGoalsAppsMins
Coutinho 65.19 45.48 35.95 16.33 37 4 3 21 1,604

Coutinho, though, does not focus on his individual statistics as he believes there is only one that truly matters, the end result that the team as a unit achieve: 'The team have been performing very well recently and of course all players do well as a consequence because we encourage and help each other.

'I didn't play so well in some games but I've had the chance to improve and I'm looking forward to improving even more going forward.'

image: © Dean Jones

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