Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho is heading in the same direction as Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard, according to Reds hero Phil Thompson.
As reported by Sky Sports, the now pundit has insisted that it may be too early to directly compare him with last season's Premier League Player of the Year, but has insisted that the Brazilian is turning into a leader for Brendan Rodgers' side.
Coutinho, of course, was on hand to score Liverpool's winner against Stoke City in their opening game on the season, and will no doubt be hoping to impress against recently promoted Bournemouth this evening at Anfield.
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Thompson certainly expects him to go from strength-to-strength this term, as he stated: "Eden Hazard has a couple of years' experience ahead of Philippe but he's certainly displaying a lot of those qualities, the close control, the speed off the mark - he's electric.
"Coutinho glides past opponents very close to their bodies, like a slalom skier, and also has the ability to create chances like Hazard.
"It could be a little too early to categorise him as the next Eden Hazard but he's certainly heading that way and he could become as important to Liverpool as Eden Hazard is to Chelsea.
"Last season he was Liverpool's most consistent performer and he lifted every single trophy at their end of season awards - and don't forget he's still young.
"Other players are looking at him now as a bit of a leader and can give him the ball in the final third and know he can create something."
Goals, goals, goals
There's no denying the fact that Coutinho is extremely talented and is one of the most exciting young players in the Premier League, but if he really is going to prove the Reds' leading man this season then he's going to have to improve on his scoring record.
Ultimately, despite flashes of brilliance last season, the Brazilian failed to really get going in front of goal, but certainly made a fine start to changing that last weekend.
If the dynamic midfielder can continue to provide in terms of assists and start finding the back of the net on a regular basis, then he may well lead the Merseyside outfit back into the Champions League sooner rather than later.
Liverpool fans: Is Coutinho now your club's most important player? Have your say below!
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