Liverpool and Manchester United possess an array of attacking talent, but you would be hard-pressed to find two more exciting playmakers than Philippe Coutinho and Angel di Maria.
The two South American geniuses are renowned worldwide for their trickery, pace, close ball control, intricate passing and threat in front of goal.
However, the rigors of Premier League football and physicality of defenders in the English top flight have seen both stars put to the ultimate test on more than one occasion this season.
How have they fared, and which player has had the more successful campaign to date?
|Goals||Shots per Goal||Shots on Target %||Key Passes per Game||Touches per Game||Pass Completion %||Ball Recoveries per Game||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Ángel Di María||3||18.6||29%||2.25||61.95||77.7%||4.4||20||1,481|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, both stars excel in different attacking categories, but it is Coutinho who comes out on top – he is better than Di Maria in as many as five key areas.
The Brazilian ace has been superb for the Reds since the turn of the year, and it is his performances over the past two months which arguably skews the results in his favour.
From an attacking perspective he has found the net more times, but arguably more important is the fact that he is more effective – illustrated by his higher shots on target percentage and fewer efforts per goal.
Furthermore, Coutinho tops Di Maria’s 77.7% pass completion rate with an average of 80.3% and is also seen to work harder in getting the ball back, demonstrated by his average 5.28 ball recoveries per match.
The Red Devils’ record signing comes out on top in average touches per game, and he is undoubtedly more creative in terms of dribbling ability and creating chances via key passes for his teammates.
However, in contrast to Coutinho, United’s star man has struggled of late as a mixture of average team performances and perhaps a conservative-based team mentality has restricted him.
The former Real Madrid man is unquestionably one of the best players in the world, but as of today he is being outshone in the Premier League this season by the Merseyside maestro.