While it’s impossible to argue against the fact that Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has been sensational in recent weeks, only a fool would dare suggest he is a genuine contender for the Premier League’s Player of the Year award.
Which is precisely what Brendan Rodgers, according to ESPN, claimed following Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Manchester City at the weekend.
The Liverpool boss could be forgiven if he felt a little dizzy in the aftermath of his side’s superb win at Anfield. After all it was Coutinho who secured all three points with a quite brilliant strike in the final 15 minutes of the match.
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Coutinho - 80/1 to win PotY award
But there’s a reason why Coutinho is currently priced at 80/1 - behind 15 other more likely contenders to win the prestigious individual accolade - with leading bookmakers. A host of Premier League stars deserve the award more.
Of course, there’s still a bit of time for Coutinho to put himself in the mix for the Player of the Year award - but as things stand the Brazilian will be lucky if he even receives an invite to the glitzy ceremony.
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So far this season Coutinho has scored four goals and provided five Premier League assists - reasonable stats, yes, but stats which leave him well off the pace in the race for the big end-of-season gong.
These players deserve the award more
Let’s compare the 22-year-old’s record to Premier League players who play in similar positions for their respective clubs.
At Chelsea we have Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard who, between them, have played their part in 33 league goals.
Fabregas only has two goals to his name this term, but has provided a massive 15 assists; while Hazard - the bookies’ current favourite to win the Player of the Year award - has seven assists and nine goals to date.
In north London, Arsenal’s £35 million summer signing Alexis Sanchez has played his part in more goals than any other Premier League attacking midfielder this season, scoring 12 and setting up seven more for his teammates.
And over the road at Tottenham, late-goal specialist Christian Eriksen has scored nine times and provided two assists.
Manchester City’s David Silva has scored the same number of goals as Eriksen this term, but contributed seven assists; while Wayne Rooney - who has been used predominantly as a No. 10 despite his adventures in attack and defensive midfield - has 10 goals and four assists.
And that’s just the attacking midfielders more deserving of the Player of the Year award.
We’ve not even mentioned the likes of Diego Costa, Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane, David de Gea and John Terry.
It could even be argued that two other Liverpool players - Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson - are more worthy candidates than Coutinho.
Coutinho could win the 2015-16 PotY award
If we were to discuss the potential early contenders for the 2015-16 Premier League Player of the Year award, however, then Coutinho’s name would feature.
This is a playmaker growing in confidence all the time and becoming an increasingly influential figure for the Merseyside outfit.
Full credit must go to Rodgers for taking the gamble on Coutinho, who many wrote off as a player with plenty of talent but little application following his ill-fated three-year spell with Inter Milan.
Liverpool, on the advice of Rodgers, signed the unconvincing Coutinho for £8.5 million - a fee which now looks an absolute bargain for the man named as the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month for February.
If Coutinho singly-handedly inspires Liverpool to a top-four finish then maybe - and it’s a big maybe - he’ll be an outsider for this season’s Player of the Year award.
But expect the trophy to end up in the hands of either Hazard, Costa, Aguero or, at a push, Sanchez instead.
Tell us who YOU think will win the 2014-15 Premier League Player of the Year award by leaving a comment in the box below!