If a Liverpool fan was asked to choose between Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino based on current form, there’s no question who they would go for.
Firmino is playing inspired football at the moment, having scored six goals in his last seven Premier League outings, and appears to have finally settled in England following his £29 million move from Hoffenheim in the summer.
But the 24-year-old wasn’t included in Brazil’s squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers, while Coutinho was.
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Dunga’s decision caused some shock among Liverpool fans on social media, confused as to why their emerging star didn’t receive a call from the Brazil manager.
But Brazil’s loss is Jurgen Klopp’s gain, and missing out on the Selecao’s games against Uruguay on March 26 and Paraguay on March 30 simply means less mileage as the Reds’ fixture list continues to pile up.
Check out Liverpool fans bemusement at Firmino’s exclusion below.
One-time Liverpool target Alex Teixeira wasn’t called up either. But it wasn’t a move to China that wiped his hopes of earning a senior cap - Renato Augusto and Gil are currently playing in the Chinese Super League yet both received call-ups.
Chelsea midfielders Oscar and Willian are also named in the team, as was Manchester City star midfielder. You can read the full 23-man squad at the bottom of the page.
Brazil must get with the times
Brazil sit third in the South American preliminaries, five points adrift of leaders Ecuador after four rounds of games. Kaka, 33, believes the national team’s methods have become too stale, something that was highlighted when they were hammered 7-1 by Germany at the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup.
Germany looked years ahead of their opponents that day and the former Real Madrid midfielder thinks a structural change is required.
He was quoted as telling Le Buteur by ESPN FC: “I have said before that [Brazilian football] hasn’t evolved. If you look closely, other countries are developing and seeking out new training methods and using new technology.
“Brazil football has rested on its laurels. They have been five-time World Cup winners but they continue with the same structure, the same ideas day after day, year after year.
"Our football must evolve"
“And I truly believe that our football must evolve in this sense because there are many positive things we can learn from others.
“I truly believe that the accomplishment of five World Cup titles means that people think that everything is super and is going very well. But we must reflect and open our minds to new training methods."
Goalkeepers: Alisson (Internacional), Diego Alves (Valencia), Marcelo Grohe (Gremio)
Defenders: Miranda (Inter Milan), David Luiz (Paris Saint-Germain), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Gil (Shandong Luneng), Danilo (Real Madrid), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Alex Sandro (Juventus)
Midfielders: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Lucas Lima (Santos), Kaka (Orlando City), Willian (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea)
Forwards: Douglas Costa (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Barcelona), Hulk (Zenit), Ricardo Oliveira (Santos)
Will Brazil win the 2018 World Cup? Let us know in the comments section below!
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