Football

Philippe Coutinho skimmed the ball under the wall..

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praises smart Philippe Coutinho

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Liverpool fans were left in awe of their diminutive Brazilian playmaker, Philippe Coutinho, as they watched him score possibly one of the most audacious goals they have ever seen.

Returning from a hamstring injury, Coutinho would have been forgiven if he wasn't at his brilliant best in the FA Cup replay against West Ham on Tuesday evening, but Coutinho needs no excuse.

As we all know, the midfielder scored the equalising goal early in the second half, skimming a free-kick underneath West Ham's jumping wall. It trundled into the net and the Internet went wild.

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Unfortunately, Coutinho's effort would eventually go in vain. West Ham scored a last-minute winner in extra time to knock the Reds out. However, Jurgen Klopp only has fond memories of the strike and was happy to talk about it in his latest press conference.

In fact, the German waxed lyrical about it, saying it was one of the smartest free-kicks in football history. He also claimed there are only a few teams in the world that Coutinho wouldn't currently get into.

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Smartest moments

"It was one of the smartest free-kicks in football history. It was really cool," he said on Friday. "I don't know many teams who he can't play for."

Plenty of Liverpool fans will agree with that. Coutinho has been the focal point of their attacking flair for much of the season and, in his absence, they have, at times, looked blunt and out of ideas. But Klopp was quick to call for patience with regards to his return to form and fitness.

FBL-ENG-FACUP-WEST HAM-LIVERPOOL

More time needed

He may have showed some sharp touches against the Hammers, but he was spent before the hour mark and had to be substituted. It will take more time before Coutinho is back to his best and Klopp wants fans to go easy on him in the meantime.

Klopp continued: "He's had two injuries in the season and has to come back in his rhythm, and we will try to help him this way.

"Phil is always someone who can make a difference but he's not alone, and it's not about quality, but physical qualities. It's not possible he's 100 per cent but he's in a really good way and that's good news for sure."

West Ham United v Liverpool - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Replay

Go easy on him

The same applies to Daniel Sturridge, who also made his comeback from injury against West Ham. Emerging from the bench, the England international showed some neat touches but, ultimately, failed to have the desired impact on the result.

Both could start in Sunday's game at Villa Park, but Klopp again wants fans to give Sturridge time to rekindle his best form.

He added of Sturridge: "We need to think about how he can manage minutes but he made a big step in the last week and I've made no final decisions about line-up. Until now, everything is like it should be." 

FBL-ENG-FACUP-WEST HAM-LIVERPOOL

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Topics:
Premier League
Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool
Football
Steven Gerrard

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