Fourth-placed Liverpool are currently one point adrift of Pep Guardiola’s side, while City remain level with Tottenham Hotspur, who currently lie 13 points behind leaders Chelsea.
Coutinho feels Sunday’s match at the Etihad Stadium will be hugely important in the battle for the runners-up spot, and said Liverpool’s opponents will be looking to respond to their Champions League elimination earlier in the week.
“It’s going to be a very important game,” he told the club’s official website. “City are one of the big clubs in England, no doubt about that, and right now we are in a race with them for second place in the table. We need to win it.
“After being knocked out of the Champions League they will be even more focused on the Premier League, so we have to be ready. For us, this match is like a final because we have to beat them to move ahead of them in the table. That’s our aim.”
Last week’s win against Burnley was the first time Liverpool have recorded back-to-back wins in 2017.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were in the midst of a title challenge during the early parts of the season before a collapse left them in a fight to finish in the top four.
“The players here are very ambitious and at the start of the season our dream was to win the title. But results have changed things,” Coutinho added. “We are a long way from the top in the league and we are out of the FA Cup too.
“But our challenge now is to finish second in the table and to make sure we are back in the Champions League next year.
“We think we have really serious chances to do that. So we know how important this match is. We know what we can do. This is a club which should be in the Champions League and we want to get there.”
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate