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.”