Liverpool produced a professional performance away at West Ham United yesterday to stay well in the hunt for the Premier League title.
The majority of the team showed superb guts and determination in a very physical environment to take the three points thanks to two efficient penalties from captain Steven Gerrard.
One player, who went a long way to dispelling a myth about his own game was Philippe Coutinho.
The Brazilian was replaced halfway through the game by a more defensively minded Lucas but the playmaker showed glimpses that he’s improving in the face of harsh and physical aggression.
|Player||Match||Matchday||Club||Pos||Total Tackle||Duel Won||Aerial Won||Total Contest||Mins|
|Jordan Henderson||West Ham vs Liverpool||33||Liverpool||MF||5||6||0||0||90|
|Philippe Coutinho||West Ham vs Liverpool||33||Liverpool||MF||2||3||0||0||45|
|Lucas Leiva||West Ham vs Liverpool||33||Liverpool||MF||2||3||1||0||45|
|Steven Gerrard||West Ham vs Liverpool||33||Liverpool||MF||1||1||0||0||90|
|Raheem Sterling||West Ham vs Liverpool||33||Liverpool||MF||1||4||0||3||90|
Jordan Henderson was the only player to make more tackles in the Liverpool midfield yesterday while Coutinho won just as many tackles and duels as the man who replaced him during the game.
The myth which surrounds Coutinho is that because he’s a small player, he can easily be brushed off the ball, bullied and is generally not efficient in the face of a team that has a player like Andy Carroll.
The apparent contradiction to that idea is a tribute to Brendan Rodgers who has shown a remarkable ability throughout the season to get players playing above normal levels and doing jobs they may not have thought possible.
The one area where Lucas did out perform Coutinho yesterday was aerially, winning a single challenge but that’s not an area of concern as Liverpool don’t need Coutinho to start winning headers and flick ons throughout a game.
If Coutinho’s progression in terms of the physical and aggressive side of the game continues, he’ll turn himself into one of the most complete midfielders in the Premier League and he’s not too far off already.