"I've tried this kind of thing before in training, so I thought 'why not?'" Philippe Coutinho told UEFA.com of the stunning finish that took Liverpool past Manchester United.
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Jürgen Klopp, his delighted manager, described it as a "genius moment" but just what was going through the head of Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho as he bore down on David de Gea's goal last night?
The Brazilian's brilliant goal shifted the balance of an exciting round of 16 second-leg tie irrevocably away from Manchester United. It also stunned into silence a hitherto raucous Old Trafford.
And it was the moment that De Gea, who made four terrific saves to foil Liverpool's No10 over these two legs, was finally left with no answer as Coutinho, approaching from the left, dinked the ball cheekily between the United keeper and his near post.
"I had the chance to be face to face with De Gea and I've tried this kind of thing before in training, so I thought 'why not?'," he told UEFA.com. "Luckily, it came off. You could say that this was one of my best goals in a Liverpool shirt, but once again, all that counts is the team, and this evening the team performed at a very high level, creating several chances and showing how strong we are.
"Our morale is really high," the 23-year-old added, "due to the 10 games without losing [in the UEFA Europa League] and this success against Manchester United, after a good game at home last week. We are building confidence to achieve big things for the club."
Liverpool have already played in one final this season– in the League Cup last month – and will go into today's UEFA Europa League quarter-final draw full of confidence having prevailed in their first European encounter with United, their great rivals. According to midfielder Adam Lallana, Jürgen Klopp's men did not reach the heights of their 2-0 first-leg success but they still had seven attempts on target to United's three.
"I thought we were outstanding at Anfield maybe not as good tonight," said Lallana. "United made the game open [and] there were a lot of chances."
Lallana went on to praise his team-mate Coutinho for his impact. The Brazilian is arguably Liverpool's best-value signing of recent seasons and the manner of his eighth goal of the campaign highlighted his inspirational qualities. "I have the pleasure to train with him every day and he has got an unbelievable talent," said Lallana. "His composure at the end to dink it over the keeper was quite unbelievable."
The timing of the goal was as significant as its beauty, coming moments before the half-time whistle. At that stage United had got the Old Trafford crowd right behind them with a high-tempo display which brought Anthony Martial's penalty opener and several decent openings. Daley Blind admitted that single swish of Coutinho's right boot killed all hope for United, as it left them needing to score four goals.
"It was a big blow for us," Blind told UEFA.com. "Of course we were very aggressive after the first goal, we were sharp and had the crowd behind us. I had the feeling there were more [goals] to get and it was a big blow to concede the goal just before half-time."
For United it is the end of another European adventure and the team currently sixth in the Premier League have no guarantee of a return next season. Yet Blind, looking ahead to the domestic run-in, drew hope from last night's performance. "If we play with that aggression we can make it difficult for any team and I am sure we will win enough games to get us to the top four," he said.