Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho can become Liverpool's catalyst for success says NeymarGetty

Barcelona star Neymar has tipped Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho to become the best player in the Premier League, believing his countryman can fill the void left by Luis Suarez.

Coutinho, 22, has developed into an integral member of Brendan Rodgers' side since his arrival from Inter Milan in 2013 and was recently rewarded with a new contract that will keep him at Anfield until 2020.

His importance to Liverpool's set-up this term was highlighted on Wednesday 4 February when he a struck a magnificent late winner against Bolton Wanderers in their FA Cup fourth-round replay, keeping the club in the hunt for two trophies this season.

Neymar, a long-time friend of Coutinho, is not surprised by his compatriot's rise to prominence and believes it is only a matter of time before he is recognised as one of the best in the league.

"He can be the star player in England," Neymar was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

"This season I think everybody in England is seeing how talented he is – and I know he has a lot more to show.

"We have been good friends since we were 16. Not only is he a fantastic player, he is a good guy to have in the dressing room always positive and making jokes."

Liverpool are still feeling the absence of Suarez, who inspired the club to their title charge last season before leaving Merseyside to join Barcelona in the summer transfer window.

But with Coutinho's role growing, Neymar believes his friend can become Liverpool's new catalyst for success.

"I think since Luis joined us at Barcelona, Liverpool have not had that one player they can look to for that special moment," the Barcelona star continued.

"Couto can be that player for them, I am sure. When he has the ball at his feet, he can make things happen for himself and he can make things happen for other players. He is a very special player."