Jurgen Klopp described Philippe Coutinho’s goal against Manchester United as a “genius moment”, and now the playmaker has explained how he got it done.
The Liverpool man equalised for the Reds on the stroke of half-time when he burst down the right wing, skipped past Guillermo Varela and dinked the ball over David de Gea.
The goal effectively booked Liverpool’s place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League. It meant Manchester United would require three second-half goals but they managed none, and succumbed to a 3-1 aggregate defeat.
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Coutinho was quoted by the Manchester Evening News as saying: “I had the chance to be face to face with De Gea and I’ve tried this kind of thing before in training, so I thought ‘why not?’.
“Luckily, it came off. You could say that this was one of my best goals in a Liverpool shirt.”
Watch Coutinho's goal
After Coutinho scored at Old Trafford, footage emerged on social media of the Brazilian scoring a similar goal during an Inter Milan training session four years ago.
Even both managers had something to say on the chip after the game.
Klopp commented, per the Daily Mail: “What he did was brilliant. Phil had a genius moment. It was the most unexpected thing he could do in that situation — a perfect goal.”
Louis van Gaal, whose position at Manchester United came under further scrutiny after the defeat, said: “You have to give credit to Coutinho, it was a fantastic goal,” per the Mail.
Coutinho can go all the way
James Milner had a perfect view of Coutinho’s sublime skill - he was playing behind the 23-year-old at left-back - and the former Manchester City man was full of praise for the playmaker.
Milner added that Coutinho has all it takes to reach the top.
“He's a brilliant player and he's only going to get better," the England international told BT Sport, per Goal. “He's still young, he's got all the tricks and he's got a great temperament.
“He's going to be a top, top player. He's got a great attitude to keep learning. You need that little bit of magic sometimes and it was great timing just before half-time.”
Liverpool are through to the last-eight and after their assured performances over two legs against United, they are the tournament’s dark horses.
Yet Klopp is fully aware who the favourites to win the Europa League are - his former team, Borussia Dortmund.
“We deserve to be in the next round, there is no doubt about that,” the German said, per the Mail. “I’m pretty proud of the boys.
“Why should I want the strongest team in the next round? I am not so silly. I have contact with my Dortmund friends and they all would like to play against us but in Basel (in the final).”