It looked like it was going to be yet another case of Liverpool dropping points to a lower table side after Stoke City man Jon Walters sent the hosts in to the break in a commanding position, but the introduction of Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino by Reds boss Jurgen Klopp during the interval saw the Brazilian duo bag two goals in as many minutes to flip the game on it’s head.
“[They were] really good goals, especially the second from Roberto. The way he made the goal was quality, pure quality!” Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum told the club’s official website. “I don’t think it was only because of the substitutions, but of course Phil and Roberto made a big difference,” explained the Dutchman, grateful to make it out of the Potteries with all three-points. “It is normal people will say it’s because of the substitutions but I think it’s also because the whole team worked hard to get a win.”
After missing out on a massive chance to gain a march on their top four rivals earlier in the week having allowed AFC Bournemouth to snatch a draw at Anfield, Liverpool had no choice but to come away from the Britannia Stadium with full points if they wanted to secure their Champions League spot for another week. That, of course, almost didn’t happen with Stoke striker Saido Berahino going close to restoring parity only to be denied at point blank range by Reds ‘keeper Simon Mignolet with the Belgian in fine form.
“[Klopp] said to me: ’Don’t give corners away! Keep the ball in your hands, don’t push it away’. “He’s always there to have a joke,” said the Liverpool shot-stopper. “The second save [to deny Berahino] happened so quickly and I’ve not seen it back. The thing is when a ball comes in like that you just have to try to make yourself big and throw yourself in front of the ball,” explained the former Sunderland ‘keeper. “Everyone is very happy, especially after the big disappointment against Bournemouth. Having put so much effort in, it was a great feeling to come off with three points against Stoke,” added Mignolet. “Four points out of six in a short space of time is good but we have to keep it going. We are in a good position but it is not finished.”