Joe Allen says he wants to become Liverpool's version of Luka Modric after he received a footballing lesson from the Croat on international duty.
Allen faced Modric in Wales' 2-0 defeat to Croatia, which saw Modric control large sections of the game from midfield. On a terrible surface the Real Madrid playmaker displayed an assured touch and the Croats could have won by a bigger margin.
Former Swansea man Allen has been one of Liverpool's bets performers so far this season, earning early praise following his £15 million move. Like Modric, he likes to get the ball down and knit play together, but admits his international rival is a class above at present.
"He showed me that I've probably got quite a lot of work to do in order to get anywhere his level," Allen said. "He is some player.
"You want to test yourself against those kind of players and for me personally it was disappointing because I felt he controlled the game for them and he looked comfortable throughout.
"You always want to make it as difficult as possible for him and if I'm honest my level of performance individually just wasn't quite good enough. He's a top, top player, he plays for one of the biggest clubs in the world and in his position he is one of the very best."
Liverpool face Reading at Anfield this weekend looking for their first home win of the campaign. The Reds have an injury doubt over hamstring victim Pepe Reina and are without Fabio Borini due to a broken foot, so responsibility will once again fall heavily on the shoulders of lone striker Luis Suarez.
Manager Brendan Rodgers once again spoke of his concern over the lack of protection Suarez receives, pointing out accusations of diving are largely caused by the volume of times Suarez passes defenders in the area.
"People jump on the bandwagon and I am sure they will continue to do so," Rodgers said. "I've had the chance to work with Luis every day and see what type of character he is.
"He's had a lot of bad press recently. It was interesting to note in the last game against Stoke that we are happy in this country for someone to clearly stamp on a player's chest and all we talk about is him diving in the box, which I find incredible."