Stat shows value of Brazilian duo to Liverpool’s top-four hopes
In the present football climate of 4-3-3s and 4-2-3-1s, genuine attacking twosomes are a rare commodity.
Despite Leicester wining the Premier League title with a more traditional 4-4-2 system, the trend looks set to continue for some time yet thanks to the likes of Barcelona’s venerated trio of strikers consisting of Luis Suarez, Neymar and one Lionel Messi.
However, regardless of whatever formation happens to be vogue (3-3-3-1 could be next) a seemingly telepathic understanding between two players is still a genuine weapon for any side, and in this case Liverpool look to be the beneficiaries.
Check out this insightful tweet from the stats-gurus at Opta:
6 – Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino have created 6 chances for each other in PL 2016/17, more than any other duo. Understanding.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 6, 2016
Without labelling Reds teammates Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino Liverpool’s new ‘Dalglish and Rush’ (or even Gerrard and Torres), this is a hugely encouraging sign for Jurgen Klopp’s side early in the campaign.
Having looked a little unsure of his new surroundings when first arriving from Hoffeinheim last summer, Firmino’s class soon began to show and in the end the Brazilian finished the campaign as his new side’s leading Premier League scorer with 10.
This was a highly commendable introduction to English football and it soon became apparent that he and compatriot Countinho, who finished 2015/16 with eight league strikes, were operating on the same wavelength.
That understanding has since been nurtured at international level too and in the fluid three-pronged attack that Klopp prefers to deploy, the two of them have licence to interchange.
The cuteness of their movement is very difficult for opponents to defend against.
No Liverpool player averages more shots per game than the five Coutinho does in 2016/17, while Firmino leads the way with key passes per match in the top flight three games in.
Although it’s the former who is the only one officially off the mark with two goals and an assist, the latter came extremely close to opening both accounts in the recent draw at Tottenham.
If Klopp can keep this Samba duet fit for long periods, then the 19/20-shots for the top four should be stood in particularly good stead.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.