English Premiership

Klopp hails 'genius' Coutinho

2016-03-18 11:15
Philippe Coutinho (TEAMtalk)

Cape Town - Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has praised Philippe Coutinho after his goal helped secure Europa league progression with a 1-1 draw against Manchester United on Thursday.

The Reds headed to Old Trafford for the second leg against United with a 2-0 aggregate lead, but saw that advantage reduced when Anthony Martial buried a penalty in the 32nd minute.

With halftime approaching Brazilian midfielder Coutinho collected the ball from wide on the left, cut inside past Guillermo Varela with ease, and dinked the ball over David De Gea to effectively put the tie to bed.

"We knew they would show a reaction and it was much more intensive from Manchester United than in the first game," Klopp said. "It was a draw but we are through.

"We deserved the next round, there's no doubt about this and that feels really good. It was really hard work again. They got the penalty - I think it was a penalty - then Phil had a genius moment. Wonderful.

"He had a lot of good moments in the first half - from a working side it was one of the best I've ever seen. It was really good, it was a little bit like at Man City.

"It was brilliant what he did. It was the most unexpected thing you could do in a situation like that - it was a perfect goal."

The win puts Liverpool through to the quarter-finals, with their opponents to be decided on Friday, and Klopp was inevitably asked whether he is hoping to come up against former club Borussia Dortmund.

"Of course not," he replied. "Why should I want the strongest team in the tournament in the next round? I'm not so silly. But if we go there then we will try to win."

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