Coutinho, Firmino inspire Liverpool comeback over Stoke

STOKE, England (AP) " Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho came off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 2-1 comeback victory over Stoke in the English Premier League on Saturday.

With Liverpool trailing to a Jonathan Walters header at halftime, the Brazilian duo emerged from the reserves to score within two minutes of each other.

The match-winning pair was rested by manager Juergen Klopp as his side contested its third Premier League game in six days, but another 45 minutes on the sideline proved to be enough before the pair were sent on to secure a victory that strengthened Liverpool's Champions League qualification hopes.

The Reds remained third, and extended their advantage over fifth- and sixth-placed Arsenal and Manchester United to nine points, although the chasing duo hold three games in hand.

Xherdan Shaqiri made an instant impact as he returned to action for the first time since January to cross for Walters to give Stoke the lead with a near post header right before halftime.

Having appeared out of sorts in the first half without two of its most talented attacking players, Liverpool was a different side after Coutinho and Firmino were introduced at the break.

Coutinho's corner was headed onto the crossbar by Lovren on the hour, before he decided to take matters into his own hands.

Emre Can's cross fell into Coutinho's path in the center of the penalty area, and he finished accurately into the bottom corner to level in the 70th.

Two minutes later, Firmino latched onto Georginio Wijnaldum's throughball, letting it bounce once and striking a spectacular volley high into the net.

Liverpool held on for its first away victory in the league this year.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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