Liverpool don't need Lallana, they have this prodigy - stats analysis

With one Southampton player already in the bag for next season, Liverpool continue to be linked to the Saints' captain and crown jewel Adam Lallana.

If the Reds were to sign the England midfielder it is sure to be for a fee significantly more than the £4 million they paid for his Southampton teammate Rickie Lambert, with the the deal complicated by a large chunk of whatever transfer fee agreed heading to Lallana's first club Bournemouth.

This is reportedly pushing the asking price up to the £25 million mark, but if you look at the Liverpool first team, there is one highly promising player whose Anfield future may be significantly effected by such an expensive arrival.

Still just 21-years-old, Philipe Coutinho has all the attributes of becoming a top top player, and after several years flitting between parents clubs, has just completed his first proper season as a regular player to some success.

Like Lallana, the Brazilian is capable of playing on the wings and in an attacking midfield position, but the arrival of the 25-year-old for so much money will surely push the former Inter man back down into a squad position.

Below we compare the two players to see who was the stronger performer last year.

  TeamGoalsmins / Total Scoring AttGoal Assistmins / Ontarget Att Assistmins / Big Chance CreatedAppsMins
Adam Lallana Southampton 9 44.29 6 75.61 620.00 38 3,100
Philippe Coutinho Liverpool 5 24.83 7 66.69 179.54 33 2,334

Both Lallana and Coutinho exhibited significant attacking threat last season, with the Saints man scoring more goals yet assisting fewer times than his fellow midfielder. Coutinho had a stronger minutes per scoring attempt rate, perhaps indicating he is more willing to shoot when he has the chance. No English player was involved in more goalscoring attempts than Lallana last year, which is certainly impressive, but it is tempered when you see that Coutinho himself was only 6 attempted assists behind him, despite nearly 800 minutes less action. The Brazilian also had a much higher rate of creating clear goalscoring chances.

  Teammins / Accurate Crossmins / Won Tacklemins / Dribble Contestmins / Was Fouledmins / Accurate PassAppsMins
Adam Lallana Southampton 86.11 65.96 44.29 40.79 2.48 38 3,100
Philippe Coutinho Liverpool 93.36 41.68 39.56 56.93 1.96 33 2,334

The Southampton captain was more accurate with his crosses than Coutinho, and was also fouled more times than the tricky 21-year-old. Surprisingly though, the Reds youngster was significantly stronger in the tackle and was also better dribbling past people and passing accurately.

Of course, all these facts must be considered while remembering Coutinho played for the second best team in the league, with Southampton finishing several positions below. With that in mind, who can ever know how Lallana would do at Anfield, unless he moves of course - something that is certain to be put off until England return from the World Cup in Brazil. 

The key point here though is, Coutinho has already proved what a prospect he is, despite having the odd average game last year. It would be huge shame if Brendan Rodgers relegates a player back to more of a squad role, just when he looked to be growing so much. Should the former Swansea boss be putting faith in the team that did so well this year, only improving areas that needed obvious attention such as defence, while also adding strong reserves, or should he looking to add quality where he already has it. He will have to spend his money sensibly to try and take the Reds one step further than they went in the Premier League last year.

Looking at the acquisition of Lallana from a position of club strengthening, adding a £25 million player will clearly improve the general strength of Liverpool's squad, but Coutinho has already indicated at Inter that if he is demoted in terms of playing time and responsibility, his game will suffer. 

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch