Sandro: Liverpool star Coutinho plays like Ronaldinho

The Tottenham midfielder plans to shut down his countryman with every bit as much wariness as he would Luis Suarez, and reveals how Lucas Leiva helped him come back from injury
Tottenham midfielder Sandro believes Philippe Coutinho is cut from the same cloth as legendary Brazil international Ronaldinho.

Coutinho made an instant impact at Liverpool upon his arrival from Inter in January, and is now back in the first team following surgery on his shoulder.

Sandro will face the Reds playmaker at White Hart Lane on Sunday, and insists that he will be just as much of a threat as the in-form Luis Suarez because of his similarities to Ronaldinho, who won the World Cup with Brazil and two World Player of the Year titles while at Barcelona.

He told the Daily Mirror: "With the ball, Coutinho's passes are like Ronaldinho's. He doesn't move a lot - but his passing! You think he is going to pass here and he passes there instead.

"He does the same as Ronaldinho. You think he's going to do one thing and he does something completely different. He changes. Ronaldinho was the best player but I think their style is similar. I'm happy for him. He is young but he [has started] good at Liverpool. It is difficult to do that at Liverpool.

11/4 Philippe Coutinho is 11/4 with William Hill to score for Liverpool against Spurs
"Suarez is a great footballer and in a great spell of form. He has scored a lot of goals but we are going to push to hold him and stop him. We know he can score wherever he is on the pitch. He can do something out of nothing but it is not just him. When Coutinho plays he has a good pass on him and he is an intelligent guy.

"It will be me or Etienne Capoue who will try to stop Coutinho. I don't think a lot before the game; just when I am there, I want to stop him, stop his freedom. If midfielders have freedom they can do something to hurt you. I want to be close to him and tackle him."

Further back in the Liverpool midfield will be fellow Brazil international Lucas Leiva and, though they are both in the running for a World Cup 2014 squad berth, Sandro feels no animosity as the Reds star helped him through the cruciate ligament injury that kept him out for several months.

"It is difficult to say that Lucas is a 'rival' for the World Cup because he is a close friend," he remarked. "When my knee happened, Luca was the first guy who called me because he had suffered the same injury.

"Everyone knows it was a difficult moment for me. When I came back to training and games, I felt as though I couldn't play. Everything was new for me.

"Paulinho had come, Capoue too. I felt like I had to play because, if I didn't, I would lose my place, so it meant a lot to me to even be on the bench, to run, to take one tackle. My first start meant a lot. Everything made me feel a little better. Little things made me strong.

"I felt like I would come back but all the time I thought: 'I don't know whether I will be the same player' but now I am better than before!"