Liverpool duo Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino were both on target as Brazil thrashed Bolivia 5-0 on Friday morning.
Brazil 5-0 Bolivia
World Cup Qualifier, Arena das Dunas
October 7, 2016
Goals: Neymar 10′, Coutinho 25′, Filipe Luis 38′, Gabriel Jesus 44′, Firmino 75′
Tite’s Brazil continued their World Cup qualifying in the early hours of Friday morning, taking on Bolivia at the Arena das Dunas in Natal.
The newly appointed manager, overseeing his third qualifier since succeeding Dunga in June, named Coutinho in his starting lineup, in a three-man attacking unit alongside Neymar and soon-to-be Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus.
All three scored in a blistering first-half display, with Barcelona star Neymar netting first after combining with Gabriel Jesus in a fluid forward move.
Coutinho scored next, hooking home in a packed penalty area after being found by Zenit Saint Petersburg’s Giuliano.
Former Chelsea left-back Filipe Luis and Gabriel Jesus made it 4-0 before half-time, giving Brazil an unassailable lead going into the interval.
Firmino, who was called up for the break after a spell in international obscurity under both Dunga and Tite, replaced Neymar in the second half, and didn’t take long to make his mark.
The 25-year-old, who has arguably been Liverpool’s best player in 2016/17 so far, powered an excellent header into the back of the net from a Coutinho corner, sealing an emphatic victory for Brazil at home.
Speaking after the game, Tite hailed the backing of the notoriously vocal Brazil supporters, along with his hardworking squad for their contribution.
“I leave tonight happy due to the warmth and heartfelt acceptance of the fans,” he said.
“Every one of my players worked hard and we have to be happy with our performance.
“Of course, I’m delighted, but they could have also screa`Cmed the name of the physiotherapist, who has worked wonders in recuperating my players.”
Brazil next take on Venezuela away, and a win over Rafael Dudamel’s side could see them go top of the South American qualifying table for the World Cup in 2018 if other results go their way.
Coutinho and Firmino can both play a key role in doing so, with their stock continuing to rise both on the international and domestic stage.
Most encouragingly for Liverpool, the duo left Natal unscathed, with Jurgen Klopp relying on their attacking brilliance and pressing ability to fuel his side’s forward charge.