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Merseyside magic - Philippe Coutinho rises above the pressure

3:55 PM IST 03/04/17
HD Phil Coutinho Liverpool
Goal and Sure have partnered to create the Pressure Index, the only way to measure how players are handling the stress of the most competitive league

Philippe Coutinho’s career appeared to be going nowhere.

A teenage prodigy, he’d starred in Brazil’s youth divisions alongside the likes of Neymar, but while his close friend had elected to resist the lure of Europe to develop at home, Coutinho had taken the bait.

He agreed a big-money move to Europe before even having made a senior appearance in his homeland. Inter believed they had the next big thing.

But their young Brazilian was raw. Lightweight, still in his adolescence, he struggled to adapt physically to a new league and mentally to a new culture.

Liverpool took a risk when they shelled out £8.5 million for him in 2013. Pundits both in Italy and at home in Brazil suggested he was just another case of unfulfilled promise. The Premier League would be too quick, too intense, too physically-demanding for his tiny frame.

Coutinho proved them all wrong. He’s taken the Premier League by storm, starring in the most-watched league on the planet.

And on Saturday he came up big once again, scoring one, assisting one and having a huge hand in creating the other as Liverpool saw off local rivals Everton 3-1 at Anfield.

Coutinho’s performance earned him an impressive 94/100 on the Goal Pressure Index, presented by Sure and powered by Opta data, which provides the first ever system to measure and rate a team and player’s performance under pressure.

The Goal Pressure Index uses more than 750,000 data points as well as factors including league position, point in the season and the opposition to calculate a rating out of 100 for every Premier League player every week.

Coutinho played a huge role in Sadio Mane’s opener, his smart run across the Everton backline creating the space for the Senegal international to cut across the box before sending a low shot into the far corner.

He then restored the Reds’ lead after Everton had drawn level, setting off on a winding solo run before cutting inside to send a curling shot flying inside the far post.

The Brazil international then helped wrap up the victory that left Jurgen Klopp the first Liverpool manager to win his first three Merseyside derbies in the league, laying on Divock Origi for the third.

"It was a world-class goal, another fantastic finish and he made the pass for Div’s goal," said Klopp.

Coutinho has now assisted six Premier League goals this season, his second-best tally in a Premier League campaign (seven in 2013/14).

Liverpool are now unbeaten in their last 13 league encounters with Everton, their joint-longest run over their neighbours. 

And this victory was vital in the race for the Champions League, moving Liverpool up to third and nine points clear of Ronald Koeman’s side.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey earned a score of 93 with a stunning performance as he made 10 saves to give his side a shock victory at runaway Premier League leaders Chelsea.

No club had more than two players in the Pressure Index top ten this weekend, with Chelsea, Liverpool and Palace all tied on that number.

The Goal Pressure Index is presented by Sure, Official Partner of Chelsea FC, Everton FC and Southampton FC. Join the conversation on Twitter @Sure.