The Liverpool boss admitted that the Brazilian midfielder was just seconds away from being subbed with Danny Ings before he dazzled the Britannia stadium with a late winner.
Following the 1-0 win, the Reds manager claimed that he was looking to substitute Coutinho in the 87th minute to bring his latest summer signing Danny Ings on the field. However, right at that moment, Coutinho produced an absolute stunner to help his clinch all three points in their season opener.
“I can’t profess to being any sort of genius – it was lucky he was still on. He was very close to being substituted. How close?….Let’s say about 10 seconds!”
Stoke City also heaped praise at Coutinho, however lamented poor decisions from match referee.
“What did Liverpool invest in the summer, £80m? That’s what it gives you, that moment of brilliance. Up against the top teams in the Premier League, they have those players who make the difference,” he said.
“But there were a number of decisions we weren’t happy with. We should have had a penalty when Afellay had a goalbound shot and Clyne stops it with both his hands. Lovren was lucky not to be sent off too.
“If it merited the yellow card the ref thinks something untoward has gone on – and he’s thrown an elbow.”