Paul Merson: Eden Hazard is world class, this Liverpool midfielder isn’t

The former Arsenal midfielder isn't convinced about Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho

Paul Merson says he would rather have Eden Hazard than Philippe Coutinho after the Arsenal legend rubbished the suggestion that the Liverpool star is world class.

The Brazil international signed a new long-term contract with the Merseyside outfit on Wednesday as Coutinho put to bed speculation surrounding his future at Liverpool.

Coutinho scored five goals and made five assists in his opening 13 games in the 2016-17 Premier League season before picking up a serious ankle injury in a 2-0 win against Sunderland in November.

The South American attacking midfielder has become a key member of Liverpool’s squad after Coutinho completed a £8.5m move to the Anfield outfit from Inter Milan in the 2013 January transfer window.

However, ex-Arsenal midfielder Merson has refuted Jurgen Klopp’s claims that Coutinho is a world-class player.

“Jurgen Klopp says Coutinho is world class. But he’s not. He’s not a Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s not even an Eden Hazard in my opinion,” Merson told Daily Star.

“If he’s on top of his game, and Hazard is too, I know who I’d rather have in my team.

“Coutinho is not going to rip it up on his own. How many games has he won for Liverpool this season?

“Jamie Carragher has criticised him before for not having enough end product, and he’s right.

“Coutinho’s scored five goals in the league. Joe Allen at Stoke has scored as many as that. Leroy Fer at Swansea has scored more.

“A lot of his goals are worldies as well. They dry up sooner or later. He needs to find other ways to score.”

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Coutinho was named in the PFA team of the year last season after a superb campaign under Klopp.

Hazard was named the PFA player of the year in 2015 after he scored 14 times in 38 games to inspire Chelsea to the Premier League title.

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