Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho, a January transfer window acquisition from Inter Milan, has been compared to Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho by Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Coutinho has impressed since his arrival at Liverpool, costing the Reds around £8.5 million, having scored one and assisted two other goals in only four Premier League appearances for the Anfield club.

The 20-year-old Brazil international was a reported target for Southampton during the transfer period earlier this year, but Saints were eventually beaten to his signature when Liverpool entered the running.

Saints will be able to see what they have been missing when Liverpool travel to St Mary's on Saturday, and Pochettino has lavished praise on Coutinho ahead of the Brazilian's arrival on the south coast.

So good is Coutinho, says Pochettino, the youngster possesses as similar skills set to illustrious counterparts Ronadlino and Lionel Messi, although the former still has plenty to prove.

"Philippe is a Brazilian player and, as it happens with most Brazilians, he has a special magic in his feet," explained Pochettino, according to the official Liverpool website.

"Aside from the magic that he has, he also has an amazing work-rate and that makes us doubt whether he fits the mould of a typical Brazilian player or a European one because his work ethic is outstanding.

"What is important about him is he is a good lad, a good kid - a great, humble person.

"I do think Coutinho has that same quality that Ronaldinho and Messi have, but he has much to prove yet.

"What is really clear to me is that Coutinho is a really responsible player - really dedicated and responsible to his own players."

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