A xrucial moment of Philippe Coutinho magic lifted Liverpool to a 2-1 preseason victory over Leicester City in the final of the Premier League Asia Trophy on Saturday.
With Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp rejecting a crazy money offer from Barcelona for Coutinho earlier this week, the mercurial Brazilian underlined his important to the Reds with a flash of individual brilliance in Hong Kong.
The 25-year-old picked the ball up on the left of the area on the stroke of halftime, jinked his way inside and let fly with a superb right-foot strike that proved to be the game-winner.
“Everybody knows that Phil Coutinho is a key player for us,” Klopp told reporters.
“He loves the club, he loves the city -– he is a fantastic footballer. If he is able to play like tonight, in a very difficult moment of the preseason after all the (training) sessions, that shows his big potential.”
Coutinho had earlier played the role of provider for new signing Mohamed Salah, dinking the ball on to the Egyptian’s head to cancel out Islam Slimani’s 12th-minute nodded opener.
Klopp was involved in a heated exchange with referee Bobby Madley in the first half, the German revealing his anger had been sparked by some close attention Coutinho was receiving from the Leicester defenders.
“These players make the difference. These players bring people to the stadium,” said Klopp. “That’s why have to look after them a little bit.”