Lukaku & Coutinho Need To Define The Big Games!

The 228th Merseyside Derby will, for me, be remembered as the day that Everton Football Club need to hold a post-mortem into how they address this game in the future, to prioritise it as THE most important game of their season again and as a consequence have the belief to take them onto challenges against the very best in English football again.

You cannot have such a woeful record against your biggest rivals and not have that impact on games against other clubs, it’s almost impossible.

Toffees Need To Stick To a New Focus
So Everton need a new strategy, a new focus on this game because from what I saw on Saturday lunchtime the rot has so set in over the last 18 games without a win over the red side that they are in danger in the coming seasons of letting that inferiority spill onto a general malaise.

New financial impetus, some of the brightest young talent in the country and a very good manager will count for nothing unless the gaffer now comes out and says “we didn’t compete, we feel inferior to this lot and you know what, my first job is to change that.”

If he doesn’t focus on that, Everton will continue to be top six also rans

…which would be a huge shame when there is so much potential for growth and competition at the club.

Too Easy For Pool
Liverpool have it too easy in this game. You can see it, feel it in the crowd, almost like a huge ship sailing full steam ahead that is virtually unstoppable. That is Liverpool FC in this fixture. Unbeatable, unwavering, incredibly confident.

So what went wrong for the Blues? They were off the pace in midfield with Barkley, Davies and, surprisingly, Gana Gueye who usually is on point with making interceptions early on in games giving his team the confidence and initiative to go forward and attack. They were miles off, to the point Coutinho and Co usually had at least three or four feet (a mile in football terms) of space to work in. You do that against the little Brazilian or Mane, you die on the pitch, it’s that simple.

Lukaku Needs To Man Up
Romelu Lukaku, my favourite Premier League striker needs to decide whether he wants to look back at age-related stats and be happy with his progress as a kid or whether now he goes to Anfield, Old Trafford etc etc and say “I’M THE BOSS, I’M GOING TO DESTROY YOU”. He has the ability and he should have the personal confidence in his record so far to back that up, but again after 10 mins in a game you can see all too easily that if he’s tentative with his first touch, a little shy almost when the ball comes to him that consequently he will have a quiet game. This has to stop.

Body language in football is everything and he now needs to step up, man up and dominate these games.

Coutinho Needs To Define Games
As for the Reds, they were excellent. Coutinho was man of the match for his goal and assist but I’m afraid that in this day and age of statistics, the only ones that matter as a striker or attacking midfielder are match winning goals or assists. Thats why Suarez, Bale, Ronaldo and Messi are almost pricelesss for their teams. They don’t just score goals number four or five in the drubbing of a minnow. They score THE goal which decides a game, they create the direct assist which does the same, and having looked at Coutinho’s contribution this season (save for an injury, I’ll partly give you that), these are the games where his direct, actual contribution has won the points for the Reds.

Liverpool v Everton today (match winning goal)
Liverpool 2 WBA 1 (match winning goal)

That’s it. The sum total of a direct match winning contribution from a relative/attacking/goalscoring player. Now before you say “he was great at Arsenal and scored two”, or reference other games where he’s played well, I’m looking at a player who’s been paid to be the difference, a player whose price tag suggests he is in the bracket of players who should be the difference, and if you want a recent comparison with a former Red, Luis Suarez, I’ll ask Reds this…

How many times did Suarez score goals that decided the game? To me that has to be the only criteria when suggesting a player is “magical” or “extra special” other than a showreel player!

Mane is another. A player who steps up when games are tight and makes sure he makes THE difference. A defining contribution is the key to winning games over a 38 game season rather than what Coutinho does which is be brilliant today and go missing for three or four weeks. Suarez scored big goals home and away, Mane is scoring big goals home and away.

Coutinho directly has won games at home against the Baggies and a Derby which Liverpool haven’t lost for 18 years!

I’m not knocking the kid but the way TV, radio and Twitter reacts to Coutinho popping up now and again with brilliant skill is masking the fact, the hard fact that he doesn’t define enough games to be put into the company of which he keeps being spoken in.

Two match winning goals. A fact.

As for the other Reds on the day I thought the midfield protected the back four really well which will give them confidence moving forward and overall looked very competent at the back. This was against a team that have an inferiority complex against them though so again let’s look in context.

Great day for the Reds, on target for an exciting top four scrap in the last few games, not so good for the Blues who MUST ask themselves the question, do we BELIEVE we could be amongst this company again, at the top of the competitive tree?​