Philippe Coutinho defied medical orders to turnout for Liverpool on Saturday during their dramatic win over Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium.
Liverpool were 1-0 down before Coutinho and Roberto Firmino came off the bench to both score within two minutes of each other to give the Reds a much-needed win and step up their push for a Champions League place.
But Coutinho wasn’t supposed to even be in the squad.
The Brazilian had lost 3kg in three days and had not trained since the 2-2 draw with Bournemouth on Wednesday due to illness and was advised to remain in Liverpool to rest and recuperate.
Manager Jurgen Klopp backed the doctor’s decision and left Coutinho at home while he and the rest of the squad to travel to Stoke – only for the 24-year-old to turn up at the team hotel hours before kick-off, having been driven down the M6 by his driver that morning.
“They asked me to stay at home because I was not feeling well,” Coutinho said. “But I wanted to be here. I wanted to be involved with the team.
“The manager decided, because I was not 100 per cent. It was a big win. I think the team played well - not just individuals.”
With his goal – his ninth of the season – Coutinho equalled his best scoring return for a Premier League season since joining the Reds, and with seven games still remaining, he is keen to add to that tally.
“I am happy for that,” he added. “I want to keep scoring and helping my team, and keep learning from my manager.
“The team played well, created more chances and then we scored. I think the team played well, not just individuals.
“It was a big win. There are a lot of points to fight for and every game for us is important.”