Philippe Coutinho stakes star man claim at Anfield with cup winner
Liverpool, 6/1 with Coral for a cup triumph, kept their Wembley dream alive as brilliant Brazilian Philippe Coutinho sensationally struck late on to topple Bolton Wanderers and seal progression to the FA Cup fifth round.
Classy Coutinho stepped up with only minutes remaining in injury time and found the top corner with a stunning long-ranged effort, which curled past a helpless Andy Lonergan to secure a Reds triumph.
Fellow Anfield starlet Raheem Sterling had began Brendan Rodgers’ side’s comeback with a nicely finished second-half strike, after Icelandic veteran Eidur Gudjohnsen had sent Bolton ahead with a calmly-taken penalty.
On Steven Gerrard’s 700th appearance for the Merseyside club, it was promising young guns Coutinho and Sterling that earned their side a place in the fifth round, showing a possible switch in Reds responsibility.
With skipper and club legend Gerrard set to depart his boyhood team next summer after agreeing a move to MLS franchise LA Galaxy, following 17 years and over 180 goals, it will mean Liverpool’s new crop of stars will need to play a more vital role in the upcoming campaigns.
After signing a new long-term deal, Coutinho proved his worth at the Macron Stadium in the dying moments, fantastically firing the Reds back on course for a Wembley showdown in May after Sterling had earlier levelled the game.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 3, 2015
In a possible turning of the tide at Anfield, these young superstars are set to take their place as the Merseysiders’ new reliant match-winners, filling a void soon to be left by their USA-bound captain.
Rodgers’ super Samba star Coutinho has performed magnificently this season, and has started to add goals to his already amazing list of attacking attributes, earning himself the acclaim of one of Anfield’s star men, along with Englishman Sterling.
A passing of the guard was evident in Greater Manchester this week, as Sterling rounded Bolton’s defence and slotted home effortlessly to level Gerrard’s nine strikes this campaign, becoming joint-top scorer and proving Rodgers has a new man to rely on for a bright future on Merseyside.
The 20-year-old has now netted six times in his last 11 outings, including three that directly contributed towards Premier League points and a further treble that earned progression in both the Capital One Cup and FA Cup.
With talented stars coming through the Reds ranks, Liverpool will be hopeful of a successful future as their stalwart skipper prepares to swap Merseyside for Los Angeles in the summer.
Rodgers’ rejuvenated outfit are 4/1 to secure a top four finish this season.