Brazil manager Tite has heaped praise on Philippe Coutinho, with the Liverpool playmaker poised to take a star role on the international stage.
Brazil take on Bolivia (October 7) and Venezuela (October 12) during the October break, as they look to seal their place at the World Cup in 2018.
Tite recently took over managerial duties from Dunga, and oversaw victories away to Ecuador and at home to Colombia last month.
Both of these wins saw Coutinho exert his influence, and both saw this come in the form of a substitute’s role, replacing Chelsea winger Willian after the hour mark.
Liverpool’s No. 10 has now successfully usurped Willian, it seems, with Coutinho lining up alongside Neymar and Gabriel Jesus in training sessions this week, and Tite has since acknowledged this change in hierarchy.
“Why Coutinho instead of Willian? There’s a reason he is called the Magician,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“With his passes, Coutinho opens the lines, creates space.
“I like his mobility, he was influential in both games when he came on.
“It was a difficult decision for me, but right now this is Coutinho’s moment.
“And in football, you have to follow the moment.”
Coutinho has been in fine form for Liverpool so far this season, too, scoring four goals and laying on three assists in eight appearances.
Those goals have included an excellent long-range free-kick away to Arsenal on the opening day of the Premier League campaign, as well as a powerful effort in the 5-1 win over Hull City.
The 24-year-old has impressed in a variety of roles, most recently when dropping into Jurgen Klopp‘s three-man midfield in the Reds’ 2-1 comeback victory away to Swansea City.
Arguably more dominant, however, has been his compatriot, Roberto Firmino, and while the former Hoffenheim man earned a call-up to Tite’s squad for October, after missing out last month, he seems unlikely to start against Bolivia.
This may prove to be a blessing in disguise, as avoiding injury while on international duty is crucial.
With eight goals and six assists between them so far this season, Coutinho and Firmino have provided Liverpool with their attacking inspiration, and it seems Tite is now coming round to this.