6 shots, 0 on target - Liverpool star needs to change his game

Philippe Coutinho is a player of undeniable talent, which makes his current form extremely frustrating for Liverpool fans.

The news that Philippe Coutinho wants to extend his Liverpool contract will no doubt be highly welcomed by the Anfield faithful.

The Brazilian possesses undeniable talent and, when on form, can change games at the click of a finger.

As Liverpool fans will know all too well, however, Coutinho is not currently on form. And his success rate, as such, is frustratingly hit and miss.

The problem for the 22-year-old is that he is too wasteful and, quite simply, far too flashy. During the Reds' 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa yesterday, it showed.

  TeamPosShotsShots on TargetAppsMins
Philippe Coutinho Liverpool MF 6 0 1 90
Diego Costa Chelsea FW 5 4 1 72
Eden Hazard Chelsea MF 5 2 1 90
Oscar Chelsea MF 5 2 1 90
Graziano Pellè Southampton FW 5 3 1 90

As Opta stats prove, Coutinho was the most wasteful player in the whole of the Premier League on Saturday. From six shots, the Brazilian managed none on target - although he did hit the post with one.

The fact that Diego Costa scored a hat-trick with five shots and Graziano Pelle a brace with five puts that into perspective. But Coutinho's passing did not fare much better.

  TeamPosPassing AccuracyPassing Accuracy in Final ThirdChances CreatedAppsMins
Mario Balotelli Liverpool FW 95.00 90.91 1 1 71
Jordan Henderson Liverpool MF 91.74 75.86 1 1 90
Javier Manquillo Liverpool DF 91.67 76.47 1 1 90
Steven Gerrard Liverpool MF 88.30 72.00 4 1 90
Alberto Moreno Liverpool DF 85.71 75.00 3 1 90
Philippe Coutinho Liverpool MF 84.29 65.38 1 1 90
Lazar Markovic Liverpool FW 82.93 62.50 1 1 71

Indeed, against Villa at Anfield, Coutinho completed just 84 per cent of his passes and just 65 of his final-third passes. And, for all his attempts to determine the play, he created just one chance.

The solution is simple: the 22-year-old must adapt his game and stop playing an irresponsible and often reckless brand of football. There was no better example of his failings than against Chelsea at home last season.

Had Brendan Rodgers' side at least drawn that game, they could have been celebrating their first league title in over two decades this summer. When it mattered, though, Liverpool went too gung ho and Coutinho was far too wasteful. Ever since then, the Brazilian hasn't looked the same player - bar some brilliant pre-season performances.

That suggests Coutinho is putting too much pressure on himself by always going for the killer ball or long shot. When it works, it is unstoppable. But it only seems to work once or twice every five games or so.

All too often against Aston Villa, Coutinho had a player in space right next to him but neglected the simple pass. If he can add that ability to pick out a simple pass to his game, there is no limit to what he can achieve.

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