Brazil legend Kaka believes Philippe Coutinho has what it takes to become the new central figure for Liverpool and has urged Brendan Rodgers to build a team around him.
Coutinho is emerging as one of the most talented players in the Premier League as he continues to adapt to English football since arriving from Inter Milan in January 2013.
With many tipping him to compete for the PFA Player of the Year award, Coutinho got his season off to a fine start with a superb winning strike against Stoke City on Sunday.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Liverpool will be looking for a new talisman after Steven Gerrard's departure in the summer and Kaka has claimed the 23-year-old is the leading candidate to take up the role.
"Coutinho is a humble guy. He won't talk about being able to replace a legend like Steven Gerrard and the truth is nobody could ever replace him, but with Gerrard gone they do need somebody to step up and he can do that," Kaka said, according to the Daily Mirror.
"I have been a big admirer of Coutinho and he can be a very important player for Liverpool and Brazil. There will be a lot of expectation on him with Liverpool fighting to get back into the Champions League, but I know that he can handle it.
"One great player doesn't make a team, but you can build a team around one great player, and I believe he can be that player."
Coutinho was joined at Anfield by a fellow Brazilian this summer in the form of Roberto Firmino. The attacking midfielder completed a £29million move from Hoffenheim earlier this summer and came on for a brief cameo against the Potters.
The big-money signing arrives with plenty of expectation attached to him, but Kaka has urged Liverpool fans to give Firmino time to adapt to the Premier League.
"Firmino will be a big player for Liverpool, and will have a good relationship on the field with Coutinho, but the fans must give him time," Kaka added.
"He has come for a big transfer fee, but still you must remember he is adjusting to a new league and that always takes time."