Pool must pray that Coutinho stays: Gerrard

Liverpool must hope for divine intervention that Barcelona do not come back for Philippe Coutinho again, said Reds legend Steven Gerrard yesterday.

The Brazilian inspired Liverpool to a 3-2 win over Leicester yesterday morning (Singapore time), underlining his importance to a side that are still leaking goals at the back.

Coutinho created the opener for Mohamed Salah and scored the second with a brilliant free-kick to make it 2-0, before the Reds' defence conceded twice, either side of Jordan Henderson's strike.

Coutinho's 25m free-kick, which curled in beyond a diving Kasper Schmeichel, was his 16th EPL goal from outside the area, more than any other player since his debut.

To be sure, the Reds also had goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to thank for saving a 73rd-minute penalty from Jamie Vardy.

But there was no mistaking who the Man of the Match was.

Gerrard said on BT Sport: "Coutinho produces moments of genius and he's a world-class footballer.

"Liverpool need to try and keep hold of him for as long as possible because with him in the team, when Sadio Mane comes back, we know Liverpool will score heavily and they will be one of the most exciting teams in the league."

When asked how the Reds can keep him at the club, Gerrard replied: "Pray! He's South American, his dream is to go to Barcelona.

[Quotation Text]I wouldn't go near him and sometimes I told him to keep away from me because he can embarrass you. Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who once told Philippe Coutinho to stay away from him in training

"I think the key in this situation is do Barcelona come back? Or are they upset that he hasn't come?"

Gerrard revealed that he once told Coutinho to stay away from him in training - because the former Reds captain was afraid he'd be embarrassed by the skilful Brazilian.

Said Gerrard: "I wouldn't go near him and sometimes I told him to keep away from me because he can embarrass you. If he stands you up, he can go both ways.

"He's got such a low centre of gravity, he's so sharp, so quick and he's two or three steps ahead of defenders, he's so, so clever."

After ending a four-game winless streak, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp will hope that they can keep the winning momentum in the Champions League.

The Reds, who were held to a 2-2 draw by Sevilla at home earlier this month, travel to Spartak Moscow on Wednesday morning (Singapore time).

Klopp said: "We feel we are in a really good way but we have to show it with results so everybody can see it.

"After a few games without the right result, we have to fight back and that's what we did.

"We are in a good way because we are playing good football. Yes, we still have problems defensively but every line-up concedes goals." - WIRE SERVICES

Philippe CoutinhoSteven Gerrardliverpool