Leiva hails Coutinho impact

Coutinho fired Liverpool into the FA Cup semi-finals with a brilliant strike in the 70th minute of their 1-0 win over Blackburn at Ewood Park on Wednesday.

That goal came on the back of Coutinho???s brilliant last-minute winner in a fourth-round replay at Bolton and underlines his growing influence on Brendan Rodgers’ side.

The 22-year-old has arguably been Liverpool’s best player this season having not only grown in stature as a playmaker but also adding goals to his armoury.

“I have known him for a very long time and I know what he’s capable of doing,” Lucas told liverpoolfc.com.

“He’s becoming an even bigger player for the club and he’s got a long way to go in terms of age and experience, but he’s already right there with the top players.”

From a personal perspective, Lucas is relishing the prospect of running out at Wembley after injury robbed him of the opportunity three years ago.

Liverpool made three trips to the national stadium in 2012 after winning the League Cup and losing the FA Cup to Chelsea, but the Brazil international missed all of them with a serious knee injury sustained in the previous November.

But having played his part in the 1-0 quarter-final win at Ewood Park, Lucas is hoping to get his chance in the last-four encounter with Aston Villa on April 19.

“Unfortunately I got an injury before we got to Wembley so I missed the chance to play there,” he said.

“Hopefully I’ll be fit and be able to play at Wembley. I’ve never played there, so it will be a very good experience and after many years here, to have that chance is amazing.

“I think everyone could see how hard we worked. We knew it was going to be a very hard game in difficult conditions, but I think we did well and we are so happy to get to Wembley and hopefully get to the final.”

As a result of Liverpool’s semi-final involvement their league match at Hull scheduled for that weekend has been rescheduled for Tuesday, April 28 at the KC Stadium.