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Jurgen Klopp has changed quite a few things at Anfield since he moved to England, almost two years ago now. He has lifted Liverpool to the Champions League this season and has already made a couple of decent signings that are sure to help them in the upcoming campaign.
The manager is also showing great grit in holding on to his top talents at the club and one such player extensively linked with an exit is Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian international is wanted by Spanish giants Barcelona as a replacement for fellow international star Neymar Jr, who has constantly been linked with a move to French giants PSG this summer.
It is understood that PSG might be ready to meet Barca’s valuation of around £195m this summer and the Catalan giants want the Liverpool man to replace Neymar if he quits the club this summer. Is that the right option for Barcelona? How well do Coutinho’s numbers seem, when compared to one of the best players in the sport at the moment? Here is a statistical comparison of both players, with their numbers from last season being taken as the parameter.
With 13 goals and 11 assists to show for, along with 3.1 key passes per game in the La Liga last season, Neymar was obviously more productive than Coutinho, who picked up 13 goals and 7 assists, putting together 2.6 key passes per game last season in England.
Coming from the land of Brazil, both players are creative forces, who can beat their man with ease. Coutinho averaged 2.8 successful dribbles per game and attempted just 4.5 dribbles per game. This is slightly a better ratio than Neymar, who averaged 9.2 dribbles a game and was successful with 5.7 of them.
Coutinho is also slightly more protective of the ball, but that does depend on the erratic style of play, that Neymar is known for at Barcelona. The Liverpool man was dispossessed just 2.3 times per game compared to Neymar, who lost the ball almost 3 times per game.
With a similar passing accuracy and similar shot accuracy, Neymar and Coutinho are a close match and though the Liverpool man had more goals from outside the box than the Barcelona star, he was not as strong with his passing in the final third as Neymar was at the Catalan capital.
Barcelona will not find it easy to replace Neymar this summer if he leaves and though Coutinho seems to be a decent option, judging by these numbers, he is not expected to be sold at any price by Jurgen Klopp, leaving the La Liga runners up with loads of trouble this summer.
Stats Credit: Whoscored.com