When news first broke of Philippe Coutinho’s contract extension at Liverpool, former Reds defender Jamie Carragher celebrated the news while asking the diminutive Brazilian for one thing – “More goals please”.
Coutinho duly obliged, scoring a wonder-strike against Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup. But in the league the 22-year-old has just two goals all season, and for all his assists – five and counting – the Liverpool player must improve his scoring record if he wants to become a true great.
To do so, he need only look at Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen – a player who is the same age and occupies similar positions on the pitch but who already has nine Premier League goals this season (and 11 in all competitions).
Last season the Tottenham player netted seven in the top flight and he is on course to potentially double that tally a year on. And a quick glance at the statistics suggests a valid – and blindingly obvious – reason why Eriksen is finding the net more regularly than his Liverpool counterpart.
|Goals||Shots||Shots on Target||On-target Shooting Accuracy|
The Liverpool youngster actually has a better shooting accuracy than the Tottenham player - 33 per cent compared with 26 per cent - but Eriksen is benefiting from having far more attempts on goal.
It is an obvious factor, but it is one Coutinho would be wise to take note of. With age comes confidence and with confidence comes the desire to try more things, to shoot more regularly, to make more claims to be the hero.
The Liverpool player's shooting accuracy suggests he would only benefit from striking the ball more often, and in so doing he could see his goal-tally increase markedly.
His effort against Bolton says it all really; he strikes a wonderful ball, so do not be surprised if his manager Brendan Rodgers is encouraging him to do it whenever possible.