Barcelona held out to secure a 2-1 victory over Valencia at the Camp Nou.
Valencia did hit back with a late penalty from Dani Parejo but the hosts were able to seal the three points.
Here, we analyse Coutinho’s performance.
Goals – 0
Assists – 2
Shots – 1
Shots on target – 0
Touches – 72
Passes – 52
Key passes – 2
Pass accuracy– 81%
Interceptions – 2
Dribbles – 3
With Andres Iniesta also afforded a start, Coutinho began on the left side in Barca’s 4-4-2 system. He played his part exceptionally as his positioning and link-up play created some of Barcelona’s best moments.
The Brazilian drifted inside to great effect and unlocked Valencia’s defence with a trademark through ball for Suarez to run onto before his corner kick saw Umtiti make it 2-1 to the home team. His performance earned him a deserved standing ovation from the Camp Nou as he was replaced in the 78th minute.
Final ball – Even at Liverpool the Brazilian was renowned the quality of his killer pass and that’s what it took to break the deadlock against an impressive Valencia side. His excellent delivery from a corner kick went on to double the hosts’ advantage.
Positioning – What makes Barcelona’s 4-4-2 formation work is the fluidity it gains from the interchangeable nature of their players and that isn’t lost on Coutinho. He offered width on the right when he had to but drifted inside on occasion to allow Sergi Roberto to go forward. When Messi peeled off, he was quick to join Suarez up front.
Passing – While he played some passes in the final third, he also tried to force the issue a few times too many and that saw him occasionally give the ball away cheaply. His tally of 52 passes was considerably less than both full-backs Jordi Alba (70) and Sergi Roberto (68) even if he came off 12 minutes before full-time.
Shooting – How often did Coutinho register just one shot in games at Liverpool? This season in the Premier League, he averaged nearly four per game before his move. While his adherence to Barca’s system is encouraging, he had opportunities to pull the trigger against Valencia and shouldn’t be compromising on one of his finest attributes.
15th minute ASSIST – Coutinho receives possession outside the box and quickly spots Suarez’s run in behind. Without missing a beat, he slips a perfectly weighted through ball into the striker’s path who finishes at the near post.
51st minute ASSIST – From a corner kick, Coutinho’s dangerous delivery is met by Umtiti. Neto gets his hands to the Frenchman’s header but can’t keep it out.
After missing Barcelona’s disappointing Champions League elimination to Roma, Coutinho provided against Valencia much of what was lacking for the Catalans in midweek.
Apart from his assists, he brought plenty of fluidity to the team with his movement. His ability to carry the ball forward into dangerous areas also had the visitors back-tracking.
All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com
Barca’s unbeaten run in the league has reached a total of 38 games (W31 D7), and they are just one win away from setting the record for most consecutive games unbeaten (39).
And over the years, Barca have had the upper hand over Valencia, mainly thanks to one man – the Argentine genius – Lionel Messi.
Below are some of the top goals scored by the Catalans in games against Valencia. And not surprisingly, Messi’s brilliance takes most of the attention, while Rivaldo also features with a piece of magic.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 14, 2018
While the league is done and dusted according to some, Barca’s loss against Roma could trigger a series of bad results and bring it back to life.
Here we take a look at some interesting stats and facts as the hosts face worthy opponents in Valencia.
– Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 38 La Liga games (W31 D7) and they could set a new record of consecutive unbeaten games for any team (39).
– The Catalonian giant can equal the best unbeaten start of any team in La Liga history (31 – W24 D7), recorded by Real Sociedad in 1979/80 (32 – W17 D15).
– Valencia have won two of their last four league visits to Camp Nou (L2), scoring seven goals in these four games.
– Los Che have not lost any of their last nine league games (W8 D1), the second longest current unbeaten run in 2017/18, after Barcelona (W31 D7).
– Valencia have kept a clean sheet in their last two La Liga away games – the last time they recorded three in a row in the competition was in November 2009.
– Barcelona are the only La Liga team unbeaten after conceding the first goal of the game this season (W4 D5), earning 17 total points.
– Lionel Messi has scored 29 goals in La Liga this season and he could be the first ever player to reach 30+ goals in seven different campaigns.
– The Argentinean is the first player to score six direct free-kick goals in a La Liga season since Ronaldinho Gaucho in 2006/07 (six).
– Luis Suarez has scored nine goals against Valencia in all competitions, his joint-favourite opponent with Barcelona, alongside Betis.
– Rodrigo Moreno has won more points with his goals than any other player in La Liga this season (16 points with 15 goals).
– Marcelino Garcia Toral has never won against Barcelona in his managerial career in all competitions (D4 L13).
Statistics provided by Opta