Neymar: Coutinho can become Liverpool's new Suarez

The Barcelona forward, who has known the playmaker since they were young, backs his compatriot to fill the creative void left by the Uruguayan at Anfield

Barcelona star Neymar is convinced that Philippe Coutinho can become the best player in the Premier League and step up as Liverpool’s new Luis Suarez.

The 22-year-old playmaker struck the winning goal for the Reds in their FA Cup tie against Bolton, curling a long-range shot into the top corner, and is becoming increasingly influential – even likened to Uruguay ace Suarez by Brendan Rodgers.

Neymar believes that the Merseysiders have missed a spark of creativity since Suarez joined him at Camp Nou but is confident that Coutinho can take over that mantle.

“We have been good friends since we were 16. Not only is he a fantastic player, he is a good guy to have in the dressing room, always positive and making jokes,” the forward is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

“I think, since Luis joined us at Barcelona, Liverpool have not had that one player they can look to for that special moment.

“Couto can be that player for them, I’m sure. When he has the ball at his feet, he can make things happen for himself and he can make things happen for other players. He is a very special player.”

Coutinho was overlooked for Brazil’s squad for the World Cup last summer but new boss Dunga has returned him to the fold and Neymar hopes that he can make a big impact.

The Barca star added: “The national steam is very strong but, the way he is playing for Liverpool, I’m sure he will be a big part of Brazil going forward.”

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