During his time at Liverpool, Philippe Coutinho became known for a specific type of goal at Anfield. The ex-Red, who left the English coast to join Barcelona in 2018, really mastered the art of hitting from distance under the guidance of Jürgen Klopp, scoring a slew of screamers from long range.
The South American liked to try to find the net from over 20 yards. In fact, in his last 18 months as a Liverpool player, he scored an impressive 14 goals from outside the penalty area in the Premier League from 126 attempts, meaning he scored about every nine shots.
The Brazilian almost went against the modern approach of getting the ball as close to the goal as possible before attempting to beat the goalkeeper. The increase in expected goals and data has allowed coaches and players to understand the best locations to shoot, with efforts from outside the penalty area usually scoring less than five percent of the time.
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Shooting from distance is generally considered bad practice in the modern game – largely due to the constant push for optimal on-pitch decision-making – but Coutinho broke the mold for his genuine expertise and remarkable ability to hit a ball with great accuracy. beating and cruelty.
Klopp was essentially forced to give him a license to shoot, while the rest of his team-mates played more sharply and calculatedly, working the ball into the penalty area before attempting to complete any attacking moves. Coutinho was so good at hitting that he deserved special treatment.
Now signed by Aston Villa after leaving the Reds around five and a half years ago, Liverpool have refrained from acquiring a like-for-like replacement for the 31-year-old striker. Klopp has invested in a different type of player, with speed demons like Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Luis Díaz and Diogo Jota leading the way for his team.
However, reports emerged this week linking Liverpool to a sudden transfer move for Dominik Szoboszlai, with ECHO among others now confirming that The Reds will pay the full release clause for the 22-year-old. The deal moved quickly, with The Athletic reporting on Friday morning that Newcastle United have withdrawn from the race to sign him. The match is now over.
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The Hungary international looks destined to join Alexis Mac Allister as Liverpool’s second signing of the summer, and it’s interesting that he portrays shades of Coutinho in one specific department. The two players are stylistically different and the former is much more versatile than the latter, but Szoboszlai looks equally good when it comes to shooting from long range.
In his last two campaigns in the Bundesliga, he has amassed a total of 62 shots from outside the box. In comparison, Salah has collected just 50 shots from outside the box in the same period, even though the Egyptian has made far more appearances, and he is a striker compared to Szoboszlai, who is more of a midfielder.
Like Coutinho, Szoboszlai can certainly hit a ball with the utmost ferocity, but nevertheless his ability to find the net is not as strong. He scored just three times from his 62 attempts in the German top flight, two of them from free kicks. For that reason, perhaps he should curb his habit on Merseyside.
Klopp certainly shouldn’t completely stop him from trying to score when he feels he can, but perhaps the famous red jersey will allow him to fine-tune his decisions. If Szoboszlai can become a master like Coutinho in the future, things could change, but right now he needs to make sure he makes the right choices on the pitch for Liverpool.
Supporters shouldn’t be surprised to see him in contention for Goal of the Season in the near future, but at the same time he still has plenty of room to evolve at Anfield.
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