Coutinho inspires Liverpool victory
By Chris Donald
Philippe Coutinho shined as Liverpool opened the 2013/14 Premier League season with victory over Stoke City.
The Brazilian was the catalyst of many positive moves as Brendan Rodgers’ side saw off a resolute Stoke.
Lucas Leiva also impressed in the narrow win.
However, it was the 21-year-old who stole the show with an impressive performance to help his side gain the first victory of the season.
In an end-to-end game Coutinho created chances for his attacking partners Iago Aspas and Daniel Sturidge early on.
Sturridge saw a cross-shot hacked clear by Erik Pieters after the Seleção international had threaded through a pass, which allowed him to go around Begovic.
Coutinho's vision to pick out opponents saw him set up Iago Aspas to shoot at the goalkeeper, who then blocked Jose Enrique's shot after a swift interchange between himself and Aspas.
But it would be Aspas who made the breakthrough by setting up Sturridge who fired home low into the corner of Begovic’s goal from the edge of the box.
Debutant Simon Mignolet was to be the hero of the day for Liverpool, however, as he pulled off a number of great stops to deny a persistent Stoke side, including a Jonathan Walters penalty.
Liverpool saw out the game to secure a good 1-0 win with Coutinho looking to play his way into the Seleção’s World Cup squad.