Philippe Coutinho’s sparkling Merseyside derby display became that little bit more pleasing the minute Sadio Mane went off injured.
It was a much-needed reassurance of this side’s attacking power and the idea that we’re capable of playing without Mane at times.
The loss of the Senegalese forward was seemingly behind Jurgen Klopp’s decision to substitute Coutinho in the second half, despite the German being delighted with the Brazilian’s performance.
He told Liverpoolfc.com: “I have to say thank you to the whole staff of the Brazil national team because they gave us both boys back in a fantastic mood.”
“It was a world-class goal, another fantastic finish and he made the pass for Div’s goal. He had a really, really good game; really good for us and he was not happy when I took him off.”
“I like his desire, but I thought in this game it makes sense that when you’ve already lost one offensive player, you save another one a little bit.”
The exciting thing is that Reds know there is so much more to come from the little magician, having seen just how good he was during the early months of the season.
He is viewed as the one who will ideally be at the heart of everything this team achieves over the next few years and a strong run of form to help Liverpool secure Champions League football would certainly be the start of that.
Not only did he look sharper on the ball than he has in months, but he looked closer to being fully fit and as though he was prepared to start taking responsibility again and being the driving force in this team.
Given the uncertainty surrounding Mane’s fitness, it made perfect sense for Klopp to protect his star man ahead of a testing run in.