Why Liverpool should ditch Coutinho for this untapped Brazilian

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Philippe Coutinho’s Liverpool arrival in the January transfer window of last season was greeted with great excitement by all associated with the Merseyside club, but it seems they’ve found a Brazilian who can even top the midfielder’s performances.

Coutinho has by no means been a flop of Alberto Aquilani proportions at Anfield. But his performances haven’t propelled him to the elevated status enjoyed by teammates Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard either.

Perhaps that’s why the Reds, who are intriguing 11/2 dark horses for the Premier League crown, are eyeing a move for a Coutinho mark II in the form of Hoffenheim’s Roberto Firmino.

Just nine months older than Coutinho, Firmino has enjoyed a steadily improving career in the Bundesliga with this season’s exploits eclipsing anything he’s previously done before.

Despite that, Felipe Scolari is yet to call on him for the Brazilian national team and should the former Chelsea boss continue to overlook the Figueirense youth, Liverpool could have a real bargain on their hands.

Comparing their figures for this term, Firmino outperforms Coutinho in all but two areas according to Whoscored, having made one less appearance.

Playing in the number 10 role, Hoffenheim have profited from 12 Firmino goals and eight assists. Liverpool have seen three and four respectively from their Selecao international.

The Bundesliga player more than doubles Coutinho’s two successful dribbles a game, while also carving out more clear cut chances for his side and with Sturridge and Suarez in such scoring form, his addition will only make the Reds more potent.

Through balls per game is the only stat that the former Espanyol loanee can lay superior claim to but even then the margin is slim, with his 0.52 outweighing Firmino’s 0.32.

Hoffenheim are a known selling club, with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Demba Ba just two players to have swapped the Rhein-Neckar-Arena for the Premier League, so exciting the Kop with Firmino’s signature looks a real possibility.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.