Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho revelled in his hat-trick display, having also been named captain against Spartak Moscow on Wednesday.
Philippe Coutinho described wearing the captain’s armband at Anfield as “special” after the stand-in skipper led Liverpool to a 7-0 victory with a hat-trick in the Champions League.
Coutinho was named captain on Wednesday in place of Jordan Henderson, who watched from the bench as Liverpool embarrassed Spartak Moscow on Merseyside.
The Brazil star – who has been linked with a move to LaLiga giants Barcelona – scored twice in the opening 15 minutes and added a fifth five minutes into the second half to guide Liverpool through to the knockout stages for the first time since 2008-09.
“It was a very special night. I was very happy with my goals and the performance,” Coutinho told UEFA.com.
“It was special to be captain – I think it was my first time here.
“We can face some big teams in the next round, but we’ll see who we’re drawn against.”
No need to hide the match ball!
It’s all yours, @Phil_Coutinho. pic.twitter.com/aNAPtYkxts
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 6, 2017
Sadio Mane bagged a brace, while Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah were also on target in the demolition as Liverpool won Group E, three points ahead of Sevilla.
But Coutinho was the name on everyone’s lips post-match, including team-mate Emre Can.
“It was a brilliant performance. It was important to score early, but we did very well after that,” Can said.
“Philippe Coutinho was outstanding. He’s such an important player for us, but all our attackers did well tonight.”