Dejan Lovren insists 'amazing' Coutinho was the difference in Liverpool's 4-0 victory over West Ham

Dejan Lovren insists 'amazing' Coutinho was the difference in Liverpool's 4-0 victory over West Ham

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren was full of praise for his Brazilian teammate Philippe Coutinho who put in a mesmerising performance that helped Jürgen Klopp’s side thump West Ham 4-0 at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday.

Joshua Kerr

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren was full of praise for teammate Philippe Coutinho as he inspired Jürgen Klopp’s side to a 4-0 thrashing of West Ham United.

Sunday’s crucial victory against the Hammers ensured Liverpool remain in the driving seat for a top four finish which could see them ensure a long-awaited return to the Champions League next season.

The Reds produced a stunning 4-0 performance that saw them return to third and it was Liverpool's top scorer this season that proved to be the difference for Klopp's side felt the Croatian defender.

Coutinho superb in new found role

The 24-year-old proved crucial in his side’s victory grabbing himself an impressive brace as well as a superb assist for Daniel Sturridge that gave the visitors an early lead in East London on Sunday.

Klopp deployed Coutinho in a much deeper role which the Brazilian thrived under finding much needed space to help find gaps and weaknesses in the West Ham defence. He created the opening goal with a stunning through ball that found Sturridge who took the ball past Adrian to slot home.

The second-half saw him add to his tally of goals for the season with two superbly worked individual goals that puts him on 12 league goals, his highest ever tally in a Premier League season.

Lovren left in awe by his teammate's performance

Liverpool travelled to the capital knowing a win would leave them one victory away from a European return. 

And the Reds' Croatian defender who helped keep a third consecutive clean sheet for the Reds felt Coutinho was the driving force in an excellent outlet from Klopp’s team.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilić had never lost to a Liverpool side in reign as the Hammers boss before Sunday’s encounter but it was a different tale as Liverpool embarrassed the home side on their final outing at the London Stadium this season.

"We didn’t expect that we’d win 4-0 and score so many goals," Lovren explained after Liverpool had come under scrutiny in recent games for their failure to be clinical in front of goal.

However, the Reds showed their class on a day that mattered and answered the critics that could prove they are worthy of a top four finish.

"I would say that even with this pressure we showed our quality today," said Lovren, who remained a sturdy and assured figure alongside Joël Matip - the duo beginning to show signs of a top defensive partnership.

But it was Coutinho who Lovren felt was the man for the big occasion saying he "was the difference" on the day. His assist and two goals stood out alone but his composure in a much deeper role helped him take the game by the scruff of the neck on more than one occasion as he proved a nightmare figure for the West Ham fans watching on.

"He can play in every position," said Lovren after watching a magician at work as he terrorized Bilić’s side. "He’s just brilliant."

Liverpool are now just one game away from a return to the Champions League.

Klopp’s side welcome already relegated Middlesborough to Anfield on Sunday knowing that a win will make it impossible for Arsène Wenger’s Gunners to snatch a top four finish.

Can Liverpool produce one more crucial performance that will surely cap off a successful campaign with a European reunion for Klopp in his first full season as Liverpool manager?