Howard says Baines is one of the Premier League's standout performers.
He said: "Every other team knows he is our go to guy. They try and stop him but most teams struggle because he's so clever, and has an amazing engine. He just keeps going and going.
"We wouldn't have let him not play (on Saturday).
"We would've dragged him out there and stuck a shirt on him and kicked him over the line regardless.
"He was brilliant as he is every week."