Coutinho v Puncheon: Which player comes out on top?

Anfield Pitch

Liverpool host Crystal Palace at Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday.

Liverpool take on an ever-improving Crystal Palace side this Sunday in an intriguing Premier League clash which will feature star playmakers Philippe Coutinho and Jason Puncheon.

Puncheon, a former lower league player, has - like Jamie Vardy - been a real success story for those struggling in the lower tiers and his current status is owing to hard work and dedication.

This season, he has been one of Palace’s standout performers and has featured in all 11 of their league matches thus far – one of only a few players to have achieved the feat.

Playing in an attacking central role, the 29-year-old will be tasked with breaking beyond Liverpool’s midfield on Sunday though on current form it will be a tough order.

The Reds have improved in a number of aspects under manager Jurgen Klopp and in Coutinho, they have a player capable of turning any game almost single-handedly.

  GoalsShots per GameKey Passes per GameTake-ons per GameTouches per GameAccurate Passes per GameBall Recoveries per GameAppearances
Philippe Coutinho 3 4.7 1 1.9 64.3 33.9 5.3 10
Jason Puncheon 0 1.91 1.73 1.55 60.45 34.09 8 11

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, Puncheon’s impressive performances so far this season can be illustrated by the fact there doesn’t appear to be too much difference between himself and his upcoming opponent.

The former Lewes man averages more key passes, accurate passes and ball recoveries per Premier League fixture than Coutinho.

However, the former Inter Milan ace is evidently more dangerous in front of goal, averaging more shots per match and taking his season tally to three goals with his double at Chelsea last weekend.

The Brazil international has an abundance of ability in terms of movement, ball control and vision yet Klopp will be keen to improve his fitness and efficiency when it comes to goals and assists.

The Eagles have a decent recent record against Liverpool, though with the form in which both teams enter the match, the Merseysiders will rightfully start the encounter as favourites.

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