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Brendan Rodgers: I'm glad I kept Philippe Coutinho on the pitch


Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was visibly delighted after his side kicked-off their Premier League campaign with a win away at Stoke City.

Philippe Coutinho's 86th minute stunning long-range strike gave the Reds the perfect start as they also avenged last May's 6-1 defeat at the Britannia Stadium.

"It's always difficult when you come to Stoke, it's never an easy game here," Rodgers told reporters.

"To get a win and perform on the back of where we were 11 weeks ago, I thought it was an outstanding collective performance.

"Defensively we were strong; we knew we would have to defend well. But then we know we've got the quality to win a game.

"I was really pleased with the performance and it certainly feels better than 11 weeks ago.

"[Philippe Coutinho?] I was very close to taking him off!

"We felt towards the end of the game, in the last 15 minutes, Glen Johnson had started to get a little bit of space on the left side and we'd moved Phil out from the central area onto the left.

"But we still wanted to win the game, so we were looking at making a positive change – so he was going to come off and we were going to put Danny Ings on.

"But when you score the goal, your mind changes. I'm glad I kept him on!"

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