Coutinho, Firmino inspire Reds’ turnaround

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The two Brazilians were once again in the thick of things as they came off the bench to help Liverpool to a 2-1 comeback win over Stoke City...

In what was an uplifting moment for the Liverpool fans, Roberto Firmino tracked a long ball from Georginio Wijnaldum at full sprint, struck it on the volley from the edge of the box over Stoke City goalkeeper Lee Camp and saw it crash into the net. 

It was a breathtaking goal but more importantly it was Liverpool’s second goal in just over two minutes and completed their comeback against a tough Stoke City side on Saturday.

After a hectic week of action, Jürgen Klopp had decided to leave Philippe Coutinho and Firmino on the bench and started with teenagers Ben Woodburn and Trent Alexander-Arnold. 
 
Interestingly, there were four former players -- Joe Allen, Charlie Adam, Peter Crouch and Glen Johnson— in the Potters’ squad. But The Reds struggled in the first-half and went 0-1 down when Jon Walters headed home for the hosts. And suddenly, it looked like Liverpool were headed for a cold day in Stoke.
 
But the energy was back as soon as Firmino and Coutinho made their way onto the pitch at the start of the second half.
 
Coutinho, Liverpool’s midfield maestro, had fallen ill and hence was given a breather in the first half. The Brazilian, who has been in supreme form in the past three matches, showed no signs of slowing down. 
 
After running the Stoke City defence ragged, the former Inter Milan man plucked a loose ball 12 yards out and struck the equaliser. It was his 30th Premier League goal and became the highest-scoring Brazilian in England. In fact, Coutinho has scored more Premier League goals this season than he has in any other previous campaign (9).

GFX Liverpool Bournemouth Malaysia Airlines
 
Only 126 seconds later, fellow Brazilian Firmino scored that stunning goal to confirm Liverpool’s status as the ‘Comeback Kings’. The Reds have now won 18 points—more than any other team—from losing positions in the Premier League this season.
 
The 2-1 win at Stoke also gave them their first away win of 2017. Stoke City are always a tough team to beat at home, but the Reds, with Coutinho and Firmino taking charge, found a way to break from their stranglehold.
 
At the other end, Simon Mignolet came up with some outstanding saves, especially the ones to deny Saido Berhaino and Charlie Adam, to make sure that Liverpool kept the three points.
 
“Simon Mignolet saved our life,” Klopp said after the match. “Job done, feels good. Nice weather, 63 points and I couldn't feel any better.” The team is placed third in the league table and fighting it out to keep the Champions League spot.

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