While Sturridge and Sterling grab the attention of most managers considering investment in an attractive Liverpool team, Coutinho has slid slightly off the radar. Last season was not a bad one, but he was overshadowed by his teammates and preseason optimism last year was quickly lost as other midfield options shone. However delving into the stats shows that Coutinho may well be an astute pick this year. Using the a Per 90 minute analysis we can see how Coutinho compares to alternative midfield options. CC = Chances Created.
|Name||Team||Price||Shots||On Target||CC||Touches Final 3rd|
Coutinho had an astonishing 3.51 shots per 90 minutes. That puts him up there with the top forwards and well ahead of all midfielders. Over the course of last season he had 94 shots, 13 more than his nearest rival Mirallas and 21 more than Hazard despite playing 500 fewer minutes. The problem last year was his shooting accuracy, which means his ultimate shots on target total is much closer to his rivals. Despite this, scoring just 5 goals from 27 shots on target is what we would call ‘underperforming your stats’. The long and short of this is that Coutinho continues to shoot at the same rate, the goals will surely follow
Involvement and creativity were also high for the Brazilian, but he trails the elite of Silva, Ozil and Eriksen by some way. None the less, he offers threat from both goals and assists which is great when he hasn’t got his shooting boots on. We can only see increased creativity from Coutinho this year. The ball dominant Suarez has left and there is huge scope for Sterling and Markovic to make runs in behind for Coutinho to play balls into.
A beautiful flick against Dortmund was just another reminder of the skills contained within the Brazilian and with the departure of Suarez and another year on the clock for Gerrard it may be time for Coutinho to step up and begin to dictate the tempo for the team and create more chances for the likes of Sturridge and Sterling.
The first risk to consider of course is gametime. With Champions League to focus on this year and a larger squad at his disposal, Rodgers is sure to rotate his team more than he did last season. The main risk we see though is that it eats up a precious midfielder spot, especially when the more explosive Sterling could be had for just 0.5 more.
If you’re struggling to fit the heavy hitters into your midfielder and fancy an ‘I told you so’ pick for the start of the season then Coutinho could be a great option. The potential is certainly there. However we feel that the options in the 9.0 price bracket are worth the extra cash, and there are enough great value options in the 6.0 bracket that mean Coutinho is priced in a bit of a no-mans land for midfielders.
We've already highlighted what a brilliant preseason Jovetic has had and with uncertainty still surrounding Aguero’s return, Jovetic looks to have a place in the first XI at the start of the season alongside Dzeko in Pellegrini’s favoured 4-2-2-2. With Jovetic coming in at 0.5 cheaper than his Bosnian strike partner many are looking at him to replace the popular Dzeko in an effort to relieve stretched budgets.
Jovetic struggled with injury last season, only managing 13 appearances, averaging just 31 minutes in those matches. This means it’s unfair to compare him on a per appearance basis to other players, but we can compare him on a per minute basis. The table below shows Shots, Shots on Target and Penalty Box touches normalised to 90 minutes for some of the popular forwards in this year’s game.
|Name||Team||FPL Price||Shots||On Target||Touches PenBox|
We see Jovetic comes out well on top for both total shots and shots on target, in fact only Suarez bettered him on a per minute basis last year (excluding those who played 1 game). His touches in the penalty area are surprisingly low, but it does show how willing he is too shoot when he gets the chance and that is always a good thing for a fantasy player. If he could average even close to 2.44 Shots on Target per game then we might expect him to score 2 goals every 3 games, an incredible return. His shot accuracy is also good, comparable to the elite players of Aguero, Suarez and Rooney.
It’s not just a goal threat he provides though, last year he managed 1.55 key passes per 90 minutes. For context his 3 seasons in Italy saw him create 1.8, 1.4 and 1.9 chances per game. This diversification means even when he’s not firing, he’s still going to be involved in points.
There are some caveats to this type of analysis. Typically used as a sub last year, Jovetic benefited from coming on fresh and running against tired defensive legs affording him more attacking opportunities. This is a common problem with low gametime playesr - you can’t extrapolate a player’s performance in the remaining 30 minutes of a match across a whole match, their production will inevitably decrease.
However, we can look at how Jovetic fared at Fiorentina before his move. In his 3 seasons in Italy he averaged 3.83 shots per game, which still puts him ahead of Sturridge and Rooney’s performance last year. Make no mistake that Jovetic is a player of fantastic pedigree.
How long Jovetic remains in the team is obviously the big question, but he is being featured here because of the risk he represents. Being forced into early transfers because players have been dropped is never a good situation to be in, but the hope is that Jovetic gets off to a storming start, picks up some price rises and secures his starting spot. If he does happen that then £8.0 could be the bargain of the season.