Brazil's Philippe Coutinho celebrates after scoring against Panama during a U-20 World Cup group E soccer match in Barranquilla, Colombia, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino shine as Brazil beat Uruguay 4-1

Liverpool duo Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino were in great form as Brazil thrashed South American rivals Uruguay 4-1 on Thursday night.

Tite’s side took to Montevideo for their first World Cup qualifier of the March international break, looking to move further away from Uruguay in the CONMEBOL standings.

With Gabriel Jesus sidelined with injury, both Coutinho and Firmino started for Brazil, joining Neymar in attack, supported by Renato Augusto and Paulinho.

Though Uruguay were missing Luis Suarez, Oscar Tabarez was still able to call upon a strong starting lineup, and it was Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani who opened the scoring.

After being brought down by Brazil goalkeeper Alisson, Cavani stepped up to power home an unstoppable penalty to make it 1-0.

This prompted the away side into action, and Brazil dominated from thereon in, with both Coutinho and Firmino influential.

Former Tottenham midfielder Paulinho got the Selecao level with an incredible long-range strike on 19 minutes, before adding his second after Firmino’s shot was parried away after half-time.

Neymar outran ex-Reds centre-back Sebastian Coates to put Brazil 3-1 up, before Paulinho completed his hat-trick late on to secure the win.

Coutinho, who has been in poor form for Liverpool of late, looked to be getting back to his best, dazzling the Estadio Centenario with a series of flicks, tricks and dribbling skills.

Brazil's Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring a goal during a friendly soccer match against Honduras in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. Brazil is preparing for the Copa America which begins Thursday in Chile. (AP Photo/Nabor Goulart)

Firmino’s inclusion has been somewhat fortuitous, given Jesus’ struggle with a broken metatarsal, but speaking ahead of the game, Tite backed the Liverpool centre-forward to perform.

“Firmino has had great moments for Liverpool, he has entered well, including scoring, and has justified my choice,” the manager explained.

The 25-year-old will be hoping to make his presence felt on the international stage, having been largely utilised as a substitute in recent months.

He certainly serves as a different proposition to Jesus, and his relationship with Coutinho from their work together on Merseyside could be key.

For Coutinho this time away with the Brazil squad could prove important to recapturing his form, having only scored once and assisted once in 13 games since returning from an ankle injury in January.

Brazil’s next game comes at home to Paraguay in the early hours of Wednesday morning, before flying back to Liverpool in hope of starting in the Merseyside derby at Anfield on April 1.

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