Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp singled Philippe Coutinho out as a “key player” and again dismissed speculation over his future after the Brazilian playmaker inspired his side to a 2-1 victory over Leicester City in the Premier League Asia Trophy final.
Coutinho provided a spectacular assist for Mohamed Salah to score Liverpool’s equaliser after Islam Slimani gave Leicester the lead at Hong Kong Stadium, and then put the Reds ahead on the cusp of half-time with a fiercely struck shot.
Playmaker Coutinho has been the subject of speculation linking him with a move to Barcelona, but Klopp played down the rumours, telling Sky Sports: “He is a fantastic footballer and a fantastic boy.
“I know that he feels completely more than fine and comfortable. He loves the club and the city.
“He’s a key player for us. He feels more than fine in Liverpool.”
Liverpool, who beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in their previous Asia Trophy match, had to endure warm playing conditions in front of large crowds gathered to see them play and train in Hong Kong, but Klopp reflected positively on the experience.
He said: “We had a few moments which have made us much stronger as a team, I am happy we are here.
“Two games, two wins. We were not at 100 per cent, the legs are a little bit tired. We could have defended the first goal better but it’s okay.
“The experience has been extraordinary, in very difficult circumstances. The crowd was excellent, atmosphere was brilliant.”
Klopp replaced James Milner in the first half of the win over Leicester, but said the decision was just a precaution.
“Milly is okay,” said Klopp. “He felt something in his thigh, a little muscle problem, but he should be okay.”
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