Philippe Coutinho is feeling ‘much better’ and is hopeful of being fit to face Southampton on Sunday following the thigh injury sustained at Watford.

The forward was forced from the field after just 13 minutes of the Reds’ 1-0 win at Vicarage Road on Monday evening after a heavy challenge left him with a dead leg.

However, Coutinho is optimistic at being deemed fully fit and ready for action when the Saints visit Anfield this weekend.

He told “The injury is much better. It was a hard tackle and what happened was a dead leg. It caused a lot of pain in the area I was hit, but the pain has reduced now.

“At the moment, I am feeling very well – the first couple of days were the most painful.”

Despite being required to leave the action so early against Watford, Coutinho was ultimately pleased his teammates were able to secure a 1-0 victory and maintain Liverpool’s push for a top-four finish.

He added: “Of course, when you have to come out of such an important game like this one, and when you leave that early, it frustrates you, but thanks to God it was nothing major – just a strong tackle.

“It was nothing too serious and the main thing was we won the game and we left the match very pleased and happy because the result was very good for us. The main thing was for us to come home with the three points.”

The result leaves Liverpool in third place in the Premier League table and with just three matches remaining, Jürgen Klopp’s side know securing qualification for the Champions League rests firmly within their own hands.

“These three points are very important for us – they kept us fighting for the top four and left our aim in our own hands,” Coutinho continued. “We have a target to keep ourselves up there and we have to fight for that because everything is in our hands.

“These three points were very important, but now we have three games left and we have to win them, although we understand that will be a very difficult task. As I’ve said before, every game in the Premier League is very difficult, but if we want to achieve our aims, we have to go through tough games and win them. If we win them, then we will be there in the Champions League next year.”

Liverpool’s match-winner on Monday came via a sumptuous Emre Can goal, with the German finding the back of the net with a stunning overhead kick in first-half stoppage-time.

As a man with a penchant for the spectacular himself, Coutinho is well placed to judge when he declared it the strike of the season so far.

He smiled: “It was a great goal! In my opinion, it was the most beautiful goal of the season. It was also a very important goal for our team and we needed it in the game because we needed to win.

“That goal gave us what we needed. I am very happy for the team to achieve the win and, of course, Emre Can is a very hard-working player who deserves all the accolades for scoring such a goal.”