1 in, 1 out for Liverpool as Brazil name squad for June friendlies in Australia

19 May 2017

Philippe Coutinho has been named in Tite’s Brazil squad for next month’s friendlies against Argentina and Australia, but Roberto Firmino misses out.


Brazil head to Australia in June to continue their preparations for next summer’s World Cup with two high-profile friendly clashes.

They play Argentina on June 9, before taking on Australia on June 13, with both held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a 100,024-seater stadium in Yarra Park.

Tite has named a mixed squad for the trip, but Liverpool talisman Coutinho keeps his place in the 24-man group, having established himself as one of Brazil’s most important players.

Firmino is left out, however, with the striker suffering from a series of muscle problems in the closing stages of the season.

It is unclear whether Firmino’s omission is fitness related, but Tite has also afforded the likes of Dani Alves, Marcelo, Marquinhos, Casemiro and Neymar rest after a busy campaign.

Liverpool’s No. 11 has played the second-most minutes of any players in Jurgen Klopp‘s squad this season (3,384), with only Nathaniel Clyne more regularly featured (3,526).

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He is a doubt for the Reds’ season closer at home to Middlesbrough on Sunday, but Klopp has revealed he is “very positive” about his recovery.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 29, 2016: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia in action against Crystal Palace during the FA Premier League match at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is likely to be Coutinho’s second trip to Australia in three weeks, with Liverpool set to take on Sydney FC in a post-season friendly on May 24.

The playmaker should be given a considerable break after his exploits with Brazil, however, with his international commitments ending at a similar time to last summer.

Brazil dropped out of the group stage of the Copa American Centenario in 2016, and with Coutinho granted an extended holiday, he returned to pre-season training in mid-July.

He won’t be the only player turning out for his country this summer, with England among those also having scheduled friendlies alongside World Cup qualifiers.

Georginio Wijnaldum has already been drafted into a provisional Netherlands squad to play Morocco (May 31), Ivory Coast (June 4) and Luxembourg (June 9).

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Sheyi Ojo and Ovie Ejaria are both in the England U20s squad for the upcoming World Cup in South Korea, while Rhian Brewster has helped the England U17s to the final of the European Championship in Croatia.

Elsewhere, Emre Can is in the Germany squad for next month’s Confederations Cup, and Marko Grujic is expected to be named in the Serbia squad for the European U21 Championship in Poland.

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