Four Liverpool players could be celebrating a trophy in the coming 30 hours or so, the first three of which could feature as Brazil face Argentina in the Copa America final.
Jordan Henderson might represent England in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday evening at Wembley, but in the early hours – 1am kick-off UK time – it’s the turn of Roberto Firmino, Alisson Becker and Fabinho to represent their nations in the pursuit of success.
However, it could well be that none of the quartet start their respective finals.
Henderson has been sub for England and, lacking real match fitness for a full 90, it seems probable that will be his role once more.
The Brazilian boys have been more involved in rotation at the Copa, with Tite taking the opportunity to show the strength in depth available to the Selecao.
Alisson has been the No1 ‘keeper for a long time for Brazil, and played the first and final group stage games against Venezuela and Ecuador, keeping a clean sheet in the first and conceding once in the latter.
But between those games both the other stoppers in the squad were given a run-out, and it’s Man City‘s Ederson who has started both the quarters and the semis for the national team.
Brazilian media have been split on the issue, some speculating that Alisson was promised the final so as not to burn either of them out, while others feel Ederson has now usurped him as first choice.
Fabinho‘s case has always been less clear-cut, with Casemiro the go-to starter at the base of midfield. Man United man Fred has also been a regular starter in the Copa, plus Lucas Paqueta impressing in the knock-outs, so our No3 is unlikely to start. With two starts and two sub appearances from Brazil’s six matches, he’s regularly involved, but simply as more of a rotation option.
It might, then, be Roberto Firmino who has the best chance of most involvement.
He came off the bench twice before starting the last group game and the quarter-final, scoring once along the way. Were everybody available, he’d perhaps not be in the XI for the final – but Gabriel Jesus is suspended after his red card in the last eight. It’s between Firmino, Pacqueta and Richarlison for a spot in support of Neymar.
Regardless of them starting or not, all three Reds have contributed plenty of minutes to Brazil’s chase of another Copa trophy, which they won in 2019.
They’ll all need a break post-tournament of course, but their accumulated minutes being lower than some who have to start every match for nations with less depth available might just mean they are a little better off next term for the Reds.
This Is Anfield will have a report at full-time when we find out if Ali, Bob and Fab have been successful once more – good luck Reds!