Jordan Henderson hailed the influence of Philippe Coutinho after the Brazilian underlined why Liverpool fought so desperately to keep him during the summer in the 3-2 victory at Leicester.
Coutinho remained at Anfield despite strong interest from Liga giants Barcelona in the last transfer window and, in his second Premier League start of the season, scored one and set up another to lift the Reds into a 2-0 lead at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
His 25-yard free-kick was sublime—a curling effort that found the top left corner that gave outstretched Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel no chance—and Liverpool captain Henderson is not underestimating his value.
Henderson said: “He’s a fantastic player, produces magical things at crucial times in the game and you saw that.
“He’s been brilliant since he’s come back in so hopefully he can keep going for the rest of the season.”
Liverpool seemed to be cruising after Mohamed Salah converted a cross from Coutinho, who then got on the scoresheet himself, but Leicester pulled one back on the stroke of half-time through Shinji Okazaki.
Henderson restored the two-goal cushion midway through the second half but Jamie Vardy headed home before earning a penalty after a clumsy challenge from Simon Mignolet.
The Liverpool shot-stopper redeemed himself by saving Vardy’s spot-kick and while the Belgian was non-committal over whether he thought he had conceded a penalty, he was relieved to play a role in helping secure three points.
Mignolet said on BT Sport: “I’ll have to see it back, I know touched the ball and after that the referee gives a penalty.
“Luckily I kept my cool head to try and save it and it paid off, that’s the main thing.
“Sometimes even when you save a penalty that doesn’t happen. I count points, that’s far more important, the team is always the important one.”
It was Liverpool’s second trip to Leicester in the space of five days—having been beaten 2-0 in the Carabao Cup earlier this week.
Henderson believes the Reds were full value for the win, saying: “We dug in right until the end, we showed great character at the end there to see the game out.
“I felt as though we defended well the majority of the game, Si made a brilliant save from the penalty.
“We played some brilliant stuff, especially the first half when we went two goals up which was deserved.
“Overall we’re delighted with the result in the end as well as the performance.”