FRISCO, TX – APRIL 25: Brek Shea #20 of the FC Dallas celebrates after scoring a goal on a penalty kick against Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas Stadium on April 25, 2012 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
As it turns out, it was with good reason that Liverpool refused to lose superstar midfielder Philippe Coutinho this summer, despite big-money advances from Barcelona, and the player’s admission that he himself wanted to make the move.
[ PL roundup: Goals galore on a wild Saturday ]
On Saturday, the 25-year-old Brazilian made his second straight in Premier League play, and reminded everyone just why a club like Barcelona would pursue him with unrelenting vigor. He started with an assist to Mohamed Salah for the game’s opening goal, and chipped in a score of his own, a stunning free kick (WATCH HERE), to double the lead a few minutes later. The Reds would hang (just barely) for a 3-2 win away to Leicester City.
Following the game, Liverpool manager was full of praise for Coutinho, calling him “the highest quality player,” which is something he believes was never in doubt — quotes from the BBC:
“Nobody was in doubt about this. It is clear he is the highest quality player. We are happy to have him around.”
As for the performance overall, Klopp was largely pleased, even if being so required him to completely ignore the (continued) defensive frailties of his side:
“It is not a time to be completely cool but overall I was happy with our performance. The boys deserved the three points. The free kick for the first goal was not a free-kick and it was a foul on Simon [for the second goal].
“At the start of the second half we played the same football like Leicester — kind of hectic. Simon saved the penalty and then I think we really deserved the win.
“I really thought in a moment like this so many things are positive. The three points are the proof for the public that we are still here, everything is good. Let’s make the next step together.”
Captain Jordan Henderson joined Klopp in his praise for Coutinho, echoing similar sentiments about the best player employed at Anfield since the departure of Luis Suarez:
“Coutinho is a fantastic player. He produces magical things at crucial times of the game. This will give us good confidence going forward.”
Borussia Dortmund is alone atop the Bundesliga table with 16 points and a plus-18 goal differential, while Hoffenheim moved ahead of Bayern Munich for second place on Saturday.
[ MORE: Premier League roundup ]
Borussia Dortmund 6-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
It wasn’t the Christian Pulisic show this time, as star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged a hat trick, Maximilian Philipp added two goals, and Julian Weigl’s knuckling shot from distance rounded out the scoring. Lars Stindl scored for the visitors.
Pulisic went 64 minutes for the hosts.
Hoffenheim 2-0 Schalke
A second-straight start for American central midfielder Weston McKennie unfortunately yieled a second-successive loss, as Dennis Geiger scored in the 13th minute and Lukas Rupp salted away the win in the 90th. McKennie went 74 minutes, won seven tackles, and covered 9.47 kilometers in the loss.
RB Leipzig 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Jean-Kevin Augustin and Timo Werner gave last season’s upstarts a 2-0 before Ante Rebic set the stage for a promising final quarter hour with a 77th minute tally.
Bayern Munich 2-2 Wolfsburg — Friday
Stuttgart 0-0 Augsburg
Mainz 1-0 Hertha Berlin
Werder Bremen 0-0 Freiburg
Hannover vs. Koln — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hamburg — Noon ET
The goals started early and kept on coming as four Premier League title chasers won on the road and a fifth buried a visitor on Saturday.
[ MORE: Celtic continues Old Firm Derby run ]
West Ham United 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur — RECAP
- POCHETTINO: “I am in love with Harry Kane”
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- KANE: If we fix our home form, it’s game on
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez made it 3-1 before the sending off, and Cheikhou Kouyate lowered the deficit to one only to see Spurs hold on for the win.
Stoke City 0-4 Chelsea — RECAP
Alvaro Morata’s hat trick propelled Chelsea into the Top Three, and the Spaniard was very good in bagging his three goals. Pedro also scored for Chelsea, who moves to 13 points.
Leicester City 2-3 Liverpool — RECAP
With Liverpool this season, it certainly hasn’t been easy but it’s often entertaining. The Reds had 2-0 and 3-1 leads, the first through a fantastic Philippe Coutinho free kick, but needed a Simon Mignolet stop of a Jamie Vardy penalty kick to hold on for all three points.
Everton 2-1 Bournemouth — RECAP
- KOEMAN: Winning changes everything
Joshua King‘s opener had the Cherries dreaming of a second victory and Ronald Koeman likely wondering about his job, but Oumar Niasse — yep — scored a pair of second half goals to give Everton a much-needed win.
Burnley 0-0 Huddersfield Town — RECAP
The surprising top half teams split the points despite five total shots on target.
Swansea City 1-2 Watford — RECAP
Tammy Abraham‘s equalizer had the Liberty Stadium hopeful of at least a point, but Richarlison joined Andre Gray on the score sheet as Marco Silva‘s men rebounded nicely from their blowout at the hands of Manchester City.
Southampton 0-1 Manchester United — RECAP
Don’t give the big Belgian two bites at the apple. Romelu Lukaku scored off his own rebound after Ashley Young sent in an early cross at St. Mary’s, then United held on through Jose Mourinho’s sending off to top Saints.
Manchester City 5-0 Crystal Palace — RECAP
Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne played a game of “Can you top this?” with service to their teammates, and Sane also scored as Man City clobbered struggling Palace to doom the Eagles to a Premier League-worst (ever) six matches without a goal to start the season. Raheem Sterling had two of City’s goals, with Sergio Aguero and Fabian Delph also netting markers.
- Vardy scores, misses PK
- Reds led 2-0 and 3-1
- Coutinho whizzes free kick goal
The win moves Liverpool fifth. Leicester sits 16th with four points.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
Jamie Vardy raced past Liverpool’s backs to trouble Simon Mignolet in the sixth minute, and Riyad Mahrez put the rebound wide of the Reds’ goal.
Liverpool should have gone ahead when Emre Can‘s blast off the post rebound to Mohamed Salah, but the in-form winger missed his point-blank chance in howling fashion.
He turned to the bench and gave a thumbs up, so it’s no surprise that Salah made amends moments later with a back post header of Philippe Coutinho’s cross.
Coutinho scored a beauty of his own in the 23rd minute, as the Brazilian lorded over a free kick before spinning a goal just off the top of the wall and past a flying Kasper Schmeichel.
Okazaki had a goal ruled null when Harry Maguire‘s assist was rightly deemed offside, but made it 2-1 in the third minute of stoppage time. A corner kick bounded off Maguire and a lunging Okazaki beat Mignolet to the loose ball.
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
Vardy had a shot blocked which turned into a Liverpool counter goal through Henderson, but the English striker restored the deficit to one when he nodded a Demarai Gray rebound past Mignolet in the 69th minute.
And the industrious striker drew a penalty within two minutes when Mignolet missed a clearing attempt and took down Vardy. It wasn’t malicious, but it was a foul in the box.
Mignolet saved it!
Can nearly gave away a second PK with a handball moments later, but the linesman ruled that there was no intent in Can’s arm striking the ball.