Liverpool put dent in City’s English Premier League title hopes
LIVERPOOL, England (AP):
Philippe Coutinho scored a late winner against Manchester City at Anfield for the second straight season as Liverpool won 2-1 yesterday to dent the champions' chances of hauling in English Premier League leaders Chelsea.
The in-form Brazilian playmaker capped his latest impressive display by curling in a 25-metre shot in the 75th minute, adding another long-distance strike to his repertoire of recent stunning goals.
"He's a joy to watch," Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said of the 22-year-old Coutinho, one of the league's best players in 2015. "He's a kid who has so much ahead of him. A sensational footballer, and now he's starting to add the goals to mirror that quality."
Captain Jordan Henderson whipped in a near-identical finish to put Liverpool ahead in the 11th, and although Edin Dzeko equalised in the 25th after a slick move, City were sluggish in a match they needed to win to keep the pressure on Chelsea.
must improve play
City stayed five points behind Chelsea, but have played a game more than the leaders, who beat Tottenham 2-0 in the League Cup final yesterday at Wembley Stadium.
"I think we never give up about the title," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. "We must try to improve our play first."
Liverpool, who are unbeaten in the league since December 14, climbed above Southampton to fifth and stayed two points behind Manchester United in the race for Champions League qualification.
City managed to recover last April from Coutinho's winning goal - that time in the 78th minute - to go on a winning run and pip Liverpool to the title. It will take another huge effort to overcome Chelsea, especially on this evidence.
"To prepare yourself for a game against the champions like that is no mean feat," Rodgers said. "To play and perform at that intensity, you have to admire that."
And in Coutinho, Liverpool had the best player on the pitch, continuing his great run of form from the start of the year. Goals from long distance are becoming his speciality, having done so against Bolton in the FA Cup and Southampton in the league in the past month.
"The little magician at the end came up with a wonderful goal," Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana said. "With players like that, we'll go far."