Back at the end of 2016, there was quite big coverage in Brazil when national manager Tite decided to drop William to replace him with Philippe Coutinho.
Although the Chelsea player had a solid international career for a few years, the boss just couldn’t ignore Coutinho’s form, as he was reaching his peak for Liverpool.
But now the midfielder is still adapting at Barcelona since his move from Liverpool, and Willian is having great performances for Chelsea, specifically against the Catalan side this week, the Brazilian media is starting to wonder if the change should be made again.
ESPN Brasil’s website has a story showing the numbers of both William and Coutinho in 2018, and the Chelsea player has quite a big advantage over Jurgen Klopp’s former star.
ESPN shows that Willian has superior numbers when it comes to shots, shots on target, shots off target, completed passes, attempted passes, number of appearances, minutes played, goals scored and assists.
If things continue that way, it’s very likely they’ll be in a fair fight for the position when the World Cup comes. As Neymar is the one playing on the left wing, all that is left for them is the right flank.
Tite could even give up on the three-man midfield and put Coutinho as a 10 in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but after all this time working with the same system, that sounds unlikely.
Leaving Liverpool midway through the season may have harmed Coutinho’s chances of starting at the World Cup, even if just a little. Under Klopp he knew he’d be picked, and that he could work well with teammates he was already used to.
At Barcelona there’s obviously amazing players, but Coutinho was already used to players like Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah, and doesn’t have a huge amount time to settle in and shine before the end of the season.
Whilst Willian excelled in the Champions League this week, Coutinho wasn’t able to take part, having already represented Liverpool in the competition.