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Coutinho can match Messi and Ronaldo - Heskey

Former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey believes Philippe Coutinho has what it takes to reach the same level as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona forward Messi and his Real Madrid nemesis are widely regarded as the best players in the game and have dominated the Ballon d'Or in recent years.

Nevertheless, Heskey is confident Reds star Coutinho has the ability to match both superstars.

"I think he's got the ability to [match Messi and Ronaldo]. I think he's got just as much ability as them and we've seen it in spurts. We need to see it more on a constant level now. His skills are phenomenal," Heskey told Omnisport.

"I've seen it when he was at Inter and some of the videos that you see from there in training ... wow. He's a phenomenal player.

"And some of his visions... You know when you are closing someone down and you think that you've got him and he does a trick and you're wondering 'how did he actually do that and how did he know I was coming in behind him?' You're thinking he's got eyes in the back of his head. He's got that sort of vision.

"Those players come round only once in a lifetime really. He's a phenomenal player. That's why he's going to have teams interested in him, but he is a massively important player to Liverpool.  

"Some of the stuff that he does you're like 'this is a young lad'. [He's] still young now to be fair, but he needs to take it to that next level. I believe he can do that, but it's a mentality thing not a talent thing. Mentality wise that's where we have to question it."

The 24-year-old scored twice in Liverpool's 4-3 win over Arsenal at the weekend to show what he's made of and start the 2016-17 campaign on a high.