Before I start this, I’m going to lay my cards out on the table – I like Philippe Coutinho and have rated him ever since he arrived at Liverpool from Inter in 2013 for the bargain price of £11m.
But better than Mesut Ozil? What are they smoking in Liverpool?
After the Scousers put four past Crystal Palace (while conceding two), Liverpool fans ignored Manchester City and Arsenal also scoring four of their own, to get a little giddy at being joint top.
Fair enough, it has been 26 years since they won a title.
Without the distraction of European football, you could argue they should be doing better, but we won’t do that.
What we will do is look at some tweets, and then look at some facts:
The darkest corners of hell are reserved for anyone who says Payet and Özil are better than Coutinho
— A (@ZonalMarker) October 29, 2016
Surely there is no longer a debate who is better between Coutinho and Ozil? Even Arsenal fans now must say Coutinho is better
— John O Sullivan (@Corballyred) October 30, 2016
It pisses me off that the "Payet/Özil > Coutinho" debate even exists.
Coutinho is worlds apart from them.
— The Anfield Truth (@TheAnfieldTruth) October 29, 2016
Just a little sample there, but you get the gist.
So what has them going nuts like this?
Well, Coutinho got three shots on target, made four key passes, had a pass completion rate of 83.7% and two assists. That’s a decent game, but it was against Crystal Palace. A side managed by Alan Pardew.
Let’s lay the player’s stats out side-by-side
This season, Coutinho has more assists (4 v 1) and goals (4 v 3) than Ozil. So, after just ten games (only nine for Mesut), that clearly makes him far better than the German who has been doing this sort of thing his whole career, right?
What are you, Spurs fans?
Despite playing below his normal level this season so far, and a game less, Ozil’s pass completion rate is still 3% higher than Coutinho’s at 87%, he’s created 20 chances to Coutinho’s 21, and played 47 more successful passes. But this season is far too young to make any definitive statements, and even at the end, if Coutinho outperforms Ozil, all you can say is he outperformed him this season.
It doesn’t make him a better player just because he has one better campaign. He must do it consistently.
So, he must have been close to Ozil last season, right?
Well, Ozil scored six (league) to Coutinho’s eight. So far so good, Liverpool fans, but your luck is about to run out.
Ozil assisted 19 to Coutinho’s 5, played 125 key passes to his 44, 1,936 successful passes to his 852, created 144 chances to his 49, and had a 67% shot accuracy to Coutinho’s 44%.
That’s not even a close contest.
The season before that?
Goals scored Ozil 4, Coutinho 5
Assists 5 each
Key passes 65 v 53
Chances created 70 v 58
Quite close, I agree.
Then you realise that Coutinho played almost ONE THOUSAND minutes more than Ozil. Ozil played 22 league games, Coutinho 35.
So, Coutinho might have marginally better stats this season, but does this make him better than Ozil?
Does it f**k.