Coutinho: Liverpool in a race with Man City – we must win

The Brazil international stressed the importance of Sunday’s game as the two sides look to gain an advantage in the battle for second place

Philippe Coutinho says only victory is acceptable for Liverpool as they seek to gain an advantage in the battle for second place when they visit Manchester City on Sunday.

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City are currently level with Tottenham and Liverpool are a point back in fourth having played a game more than both.

Coutinho feels the game at the Etihad Stadium will be imperative in the battle for the runner up spot and expects Pep Guardiola’s side to be focused as they look to bounce back from their Champions League elimination at the hands of Monaco.

“It’s going to be a very important game,” the 24-year-old told the club’s website. “City are one of the big clubs in England, no doubt about that, and right now we are in a race with them for second place in the table. We need to win it.

“After being knocked out of the Champions League they will be even more focused on the Premier League, so we have to be ready. For us, this match is like a final because we have to beat them to move ahead of them in the table. That’s our aim.”

Poor results in 2017 have curtailed Liverpool’s hopes of winning the title as Chelsea now sit 13 points clear at the top, but the Brazilian believes they are improving.

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“The players here are very ambitious and at the start of the season our dream was to win the title. But results have changed things. We are a long way from the top in the league and we are out of the FA Cup too.

“But our challenge now is to finish second in the table and to make sure we are back in the Champions League next year.

“We think we have really serious chances to do that. So we know how important this match is. We know what we can do. This is a club which should be in the Champions League and we want to get there.”

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