Brazil superstar Kaka, now on the books of MLS side Orlando City, has told Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers to build his side around the playmaking talents of compatriot Philippe Coutinho, according to quotes published by the Mirror.
Former World Player of the Year Kaka expects great things from 23-year-old, who has emerged as a regular match-winner for the Merseyside outfit since his arrival from Inter Milan in January 2013.
Speaking of the Reds midfielder, Kaka said: “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."
He added: “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.”
Coutinho proved the hero for Liverpool on the opening day of the new Premier League season, scoring the decisive goal in the club's 1-0 victory over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
Having completed just 73% of his attempted passes, while fashioning only a single chance for his team-mates, it was his tremendous effort from the edge of the box that saw him take the plaudits.
It is the Brazilian's proven ability to grab a match by the scruff of the neck - before weighing in with a result-clinching moment - that makes him such a valuable asset to Brendan Rodgers' side, particularly following the loss of Luis Suarez.
Coutinho has become an increasingly influential figure at Anfield in the last 12 months and his importance to the club will only increase as the Merseyside outfit prepare to mount a top-four challenge this season.