Introduced in to the fray just past the hour mark, Liverpool attacker Philippe Coutinho quickly took control of proceedings as the Reds chased the all important second goal against bitter rivals Manchester United, but a refereeing gaffe saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic snatch a late equalizer for the hosts to dull the roar of the traveling Kop.
“We leave here a little disappointed in that sense, because the team played well, we deserve the victory,” the Brazilian told ESPN Brazil after the match. “In the second half they played a lot of aerial balls, the team took too much at the back and we ended up conceding a goal at the end,” continued Coutinho, before brightening up a bit. “Actually, a point against United here is not too bad. But looking at it this way, Chelsea end up moving away. The league is still long, we play against them too,” said the 24-year old, staying positive. “We have to continue this good form, and try to win the matches to catch them.”
Missing nine matches on the trot after injuring his ankle back in November, Coutinho was able to make a cameo appearance earlier in the week as Liverpool lost out to Southampton in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final with the South Coast side and was restricted to a mere half an hour against United. Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has said on more than one occasion that he’s not about to rush him back to action, but the Brazilian — ever the optimist — has hinted that he’ll be ready for a spot in the starting eleven sooner rather than later.
“The ankle injury is a bit complicated. But in these two games I felt good. In relation to the ankle, I’m feeling better and better,” explained the talented attacker. “I’ve been training for a week and a half with the team. And physically, before returning with the team, I trained alone a lot,” added Coutinho. “So it depends on the coach, but if I have to start playing, I’ll be sure to be well prepared.”