Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp sends sly dig at Philippe Coutinho after Man City win

The Merseyside club showed they can cope without the little Brazilian by scoring four times to sentence Pep Guardiola’s team to their first defeat in 34 matches in domestic competition – and end their hopes of matching the Arsenal’s 2003-04 Invincibles.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain filled the void left by Coutinho with the first goal and an assist for the second for Roberto Firmino, while Sadio Mane and Mo Salah also got on the scoresheet although Liverpool had to endure a nervy finale after substitute Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan pulled back late goals for City.

It was perfect revenge for the 5-0 defeat at the Etihad earlier this season when Mane was  sent off and Klopp said: “It was the right statement in the week we lost Coutinho. 

“It is not that I said in the meeting, ‘Boys, by the way, it would help if you could win tonight and nobody would speak about Phil anymore’ because we like to talk about him actually – and he was probably still jumping in his living room in Barcelona happy about the win.

“But, of course, it is important for us to show it is possible to play without him and we did that. That is a very important statement, absolutely.

“Maybe it is historical day because maybe it is the only game City will lose this season. They are just so strong and really good but I really think we deserved the win against a really good team. They deserved the tight result but we could have won 4-1 as well.

“It’s so nice to see how much Oxlade-Chamberlain adapted. I’m happy. You ask me what is better – the football player or the person – and I would have to think about it. He is on a good way and he enjoys it. He can still play on the wing, but he can use his speed in the midfield role. He still needs to adapt it, it was more of a dream for him than a reality because he didn’t play it often. He is on a really good way.

“It was a nice commercial for Premier League football and the whole world was watching. If somebody didn’t watch football until now then they would say, ‘well, that’s why you watch it all the time’. I’m really happy about it.”

Leroy Sane shrugged off the defeat by insisting City will still be crowned champions, saying: “It was not our best day but at the end of the season, when we win the Premier League, nobody will care if we lost a game.”

Guardiola accused his players of not coping with the fervent Anfield atmosphere and losing their heads in a mad 10-minute spell in the second half when Liverpool scored three goals.

But even if neighbours Untied beat Stoke tonight they will still hold a 12-point lead at the top and he urged them to bounce back to show the right reaction and character by bouncing back to winning ways against Newcastle next Saturday.

“After the second goal by Firmino we lost our control and stability,” he said. “ We were involved in the environment from Anfield for many reasons and you have to try and be stable. We always try to play and mistake will always happen.   

“To lose is never good news but all the teams lose games. Why can’t we lose games too? It will be a good lesson for our future. What’s important when you lose a game is not to lose again. When you drop points the most important one is the next one. The next one now, Newcastle, is so, so important.”