Mum's the word for Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho has revealed how the Reds' title push last year was inspired partly by the players' mothers.
Coutinho says manager Brendan Rodgers struck on an unusual motivational tactic of reading letters from mums as his side charged towards Barclays Premier League glory.
Liverpool ultimately fell just short, losing out to Manchester City by two points, but Coutinho has spoken of how the messages had a profound effect in the dressing room.
The message from Coutinho's own mother was read out prior to Liverpool's defeat of City at Anfield in April, a game in which the Brazilian himself went on to score a superb winner.
The 22-year-old said: "I was so anxious for it to be my turn, for the manager to read the letter from my mum.
"I waited and waited for it. The manager had spoken to the mothers of every player in the team, he'd been reading a message before every game for months and finally my turn had come.
"At first, I didn't know that the manager would be reading a letter from her, then he mentioned her name and I was really overwhelmed.
"It said she loved me, is proud of me, is always with me and missing me.
"There was more, but those are just the words I needed to hear.
"It filled me up. The other players were also really moved because every week, regardless of whose mother it was with the message, we were all inspired and emotional.
"We were getting really strong, powerful words and it pushed us so much."
That victory - coupled with City's failure to beat Sunderland in their game in hand over the Reds three days later - put Liverpool in control of the title race and on course for a first league crown since 1990.
But Liverpool were unable to press home that advantage, losing to Chelsea after Steven Gerrard's now infamous slip and then drawing at Crystal Palace to hand the initiative back to City.