Lucas hails Liverpool new boy Coutinho

Lucas Leiva has lavished praise on new Liverpool signing Philippe Coutinho, describing the former Inter forward as one of the brightest prospects to come out of Brazilian football in recent years, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Coutinho scored his first Liverpool goal in the 5-0 win over Swansea City on Sunday, netting on his first start for his new club, and almost had a second goal to his name when he attempted a flamboyant back-heeled finish.

Inter paid £4m for Coutinho when he was only 16, loaning him back to Vasco da Gama for two years and then taking him to Italy on a permanent basis when he was 18-years-old. Inter president Massimo Moratti lauded Coutinho at the time but he struggled to break into the first team at San Siro and moved on loan to Espanyol last season.

He flourished in Spain, scoring five goals in 16 games and earning a call-up to the full Brazil squad, making his senior debut for the five-time World Cup winners against Iran. He completed his move to Anfield in the January transfer window.

Lucas, a Brazil international midfielder, said: “There is no doubt he will be a great player for now and for the future of Liverpool – we could see good things from him.

His reputation in Brazil is actually very high but he left home very early. He was only a boy. We could not see him playing in the first team in Brazil back then, because he had only played a few games.

Here this is a new challenge for him. He has settled very well and it will help him that there are a few South American players here already. We will help him settle, and he could be important.

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