Liverpool ended the first half against Stoke City down 1-0 and ended the game with a 2-1 victory thanks in part to Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, who came off the bench to play the second 45 minutes on Saturday. According to manager Jürgen Klopp, though, it wasn’t just about the two Brazilians.
“Gini [Wijnaldum] said it after the game best, I think,” began Liverpool’s manager. “Yes they had a big impact on the game, that’s 100% true, but the whole team also played better in the second half. If we would have played like that in the first half I can only imagine the difference wouldn’t have been that big.
“But with all the players playing better and these two highest quality players on the pitch, we could change the game. It was fantastic, really good. That they are really good friends, maybe best friends, helps us a lot. That they play together for Brazil helps us. That they are so unbelievably skilled helps us.”
With Sadio Mané, Adam Lallana, and Jordan Henderson out again this weekend—and with Mané gone for the year, Lallana at least the next two games, and Henderson the next—it means Coutinho and Firmino will be key again against West Brom, with Liverpool needing points to secure Champions League football.
On paper, the Reds have a kind final six games of the season, but this is a side that has often played its best when the games are hardest and slipped up against the opponents everyone thinks they should beat. If the Brazilian duo can play like they did in the second half against Stoke, though, hopes will be high.
“If they tried to do it alone they would have no chance,” he added. “It’s about fitting in the game, fitting in the team, and obviously they are that good that they would fit in nearly any team. It’s good to have them here.”