Philippe Coutinho ‘a million miles’ off standard Aston Villa need, says Jamie Carragher

Jamie Carragher has described Philippe Coutinho as a “shadow” of the player that he used to be after the Brazilian again struggled to make an impact for Aston Villa.

Coutinho was taken off by Steven Gerrard with the visitors chasing a winner at the City Ground against Nottingham Forest on Monday night.

The 30-year-old is yet to score for the club since making his loan move from Barcelona permanent in May.

Though Ashley Young’s first-half equaliser earned Gerrard’s side a point in Nottingham, Aston Villa are the Premier League’s joint-second lowest scorers, and again failed to convert possession into chances.

And Carragher believes the former Liverpool and Barcelona creator must improve to help his side find better scoring form.

“That is a problem for Aston Villa,” Carragher said on Sky Sports about a tally of seven goals in nine league games. “To have that much of the ball, that much dominance in the game, and only work the goalkeeper once besides the goal…

“On paper, you look at there and there’s four or five really good attacking players there. But they are just not producing at all.

“Philippe Coutinho is just a shadow of a player [to what he used to be]. We know he is because it did not go well at Barcelona, but he is a million miles off it.

“He has been the one attacking player Steven has bought. I still think there is quality there.”

The point leaves Aston Villa 16th, three points clear of Wolves and the relegation places.

Though Gerrard’s side are unbeaten in four games, a run that has included three draws has done little to ease the pressure on the manager, and the former Rangers manager is aware he must get a talented group of forwards firing.

“I don’t think there was too much wrong with the performance up to a certain point,” Gerrard told Sky Sports.

“The important thing is how I get this team to be more potent. [For] effort and application, a lot of our play is OK until you get to a certain point.

“But look around the dressing room and you see [Philippe] Coutinho, [Emiliano] Buendia, [Ollie] Watkins, [Danny] Ings and [Leon] Bailey will be back soon.

“I need these players to step up and provide big moments and go and be headline writers for us.”

Aston Villa host fourth-placed Chelsea on Sunday.

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