Liverpool FC must build their side around Brazilian

Kaka believes Liverpool FC should build their team around Philippe Coutinho, with the Brazil superstar backing his compatriot to fill the void left by Steven Gerrard.

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Coutinho, who is trying to emulate Kaka in becoming Brazil’s first-choice no.10, scored a superb late winner against Stoke on Sunday, highlighting his importance to the Reds.

And the former World Player of the Year says he expects great things of the 23-year-old, saying he can handle the expectation surrounding him.

“I have been a big admirer of Coutinho and he can be a very important player for Liverpool and Brazil,” Kaka reportedly said.

“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.”

Kaka is currently playing in Major League Soccer with Orlando City and, like Gerrard, is a high-profile arrival to the league.

His Orlando side have already faced Gerrard’s LA Galaxy side before the former Reds captain arrived Stateside, though the Brazilian faced off with him in two Champions League finals.

And the former AC Milan and Real Madrid star believes Coutinho can step up in the absence of Gerrard at Anfield.

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.”

Liverpool also signed Brazil forward Roberto Firmino in a deal worth £29m from Hoffenheim – and Kaka is confident he, too, will adapt well to life on Merseyside.

“Firmino will be a big player for Liverpool, too, and will have a good relationship on the field with Coutinho, but the fans must give him time,” he said,

“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.”