By Wayne Veysey

3rd Apr, 2016 | 9:58pm

Garth Crooks hails the goals scored by exceptional Liverpool 23-year-old

By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Garth Crooks has hailed the “exceptional” Philippe Coutinho after his latest masterclass in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw against Tottenham on Saturday.

The Brazilian maestro put the Merseysiders ahead early in the second half of the Premier League clash at Anfield with the latest in a series of virtuoso goals.

Coutinho emphatically  finished off a one-two with Daniel Sturridge to seal his third outstanding goal in four matches and lifts his tally for the season to 10 strikes, seven of which have come in the league.

The 23-year-old is now Liverpool’s leading scorer this season after climbing above closest rival Roberto Firmino, who has nine goals, more than Christian Benteke (eight) and Daniel Sturridge and James Milner (both seven).

BBC pundit Crooks has named Coutinho in his team of the week at the end of another dramatic weekend of Premier League football, in which Leicester extended their lead at the top to seven points.

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“This was an exceptional finish by Philippe Coutinho to put Liverpool 1-0 up against a Tottenham side who might have nicked this game in the end,” former Spurs striker Crooks told the BBC website. “In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen the Brazilian score what can be described as an ordinary goal for Liverpool. The reality is that Coutinho could have had a hat-trick against Spurs.

Magic man: Pochettino watched former protege Coutinho dent Spurs’ title hopes

“No wonder Mauricio Pochettino punched the turf in despair at the final whistle. The Spurs manager knew all about Coutinho from his time with him at Espanyol but he still could not stop the Brazilian from putting an enormous dent in Tottenham’s title challenge.”

In other Liverpool news, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp has identified the position that Klopp needs to strengthen to elevate the team into title winners next season.