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World Cup dream drives Coutinho
Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho grew up with Brazilian compatriots Ronaldinho and Kaka as his idols and now he wants to follow in their footsteps.
He watched the every move of Ronaldinho, in particular, and marvelled at how he pulled the strings for Barcelona in his pomp.
Coutinho envisaged the day when he too could have a chance to emulate his two heroes.
At Anfield he has been given an ideal platform, and while it may be premature to be thinking about elevating him into a similar category the portents are good. The Brazil-hosted World Cup next summer is in his thoughts, and Coutinho admits it would be a dream to play in the tournament for his country.
In Brendan Rodgers he has a club manager whose 'death by football' mantra means he will enjoy a lot of possession this season.
The crucial factor will be what he does with it but on the evidence of his first four months in England and a handful of pre-season friendlies the omens are good.
Speaking about his heroes, Coutinho told Press Association Sport: "They play more or less my position and they were my inspirations as I was growing up.
"I think both of them were super-excellent players, especially when Ronaldinho played at Barcelona it was like magic. Every time I had a chance I would watch him because he was someone who I looked up to."
Coutinho turned 21 in June and he still has a lot to learn about English football, but he is already seen by fans as a crucial part of the the club's future.
It is a weight of expectation which does not bother a player who scored the Reds' final goal of last season at Anfield in May to cap a promising four months following his arrival from Inter Milan.
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