By Alex Taylor

Lucas Leiva has tipped Liverpool pair Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho to inspire the Reds to success this season.

The playmakers bagged 23 goals and provided 18 assist between them for Merseysiders last season and have emerged as key players under new manager Jurgen Klopp.

The couple helped guide the Reds to the finals of both the Europa League and League Cup, but failed to win either competition.

The duo were subsequently a part of their country’s underwhelming Copa América campaign that saw Brazil fail to make it past the group stages of the competition and Dunga sacked as the international manager.

“He had a very good season last year, but normally in your second season you get better, you play better,” Lucas told the official Liverpool website about Firmino.

“I think he showed in many games that he can be a very important player for us and hopefully that will be the case this year.”

The 29-year-old also spoke at length about Coutinho’s talents ahead of the new season. 

“It’s another big season for him,” Klopp told the Liverpool website. “He showed in the last two or three years that he can be the difference in our team, and I’m sure he will come back with a lot of energy and looking forward to starting again.”

The Liverpool stars will not take part in the Olympic games having already featured in one football tournament this summer and have now joined up with the squad as they start their pre-season training.

The news will please fans of the Merseyside club as both players will have the benefit of a full pre-season programme at Melwood

In other Liverpool news, the Reds have handed Danny Ward a new five-year-deal before he joins Huddersfield on a season-long loan.