Roberto Firmino of Brazil ( Matt McNulty/Sportimage/PA Images)

Roberto Firmino squanders chance but Brazil reach semi-finals of Copa America

Roberto Firmino was unable to make an impact as he started Brazil’s Copa America quarter-final against Chile, but Liverpool’s Selecao trio are all going to the semi-finals.

Having only made his first start of Copa America in the final game of the group stage, Firmino kept his place heading into the knockout stage as Brazil took on Chile.

The 29-year-old joined Neymar in attack, flanked by Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison in a particularly attacking selection from Tite, as the hosts looked to take the fight to their opponents.

It was a frustrating first half for Brazil, though, and Firmino encapsulated that as he missed arguably the best chance of the opening 45 minutes.

With Neymar producing an excellent cross from the left, the Liverpool striker was unable to get his feet out of his body quick enough to divert it home on the volley.

Firmino was withdrawn at half-time as Lucas Paqueta took his place, and within a minute the Lyon midfielder had broken the deadlock, bursting through a mess of bodies in the box to fire home past Claudio Bravo.

Brazil held on for the 1-0 win, with Jesus sent off for a similar challenge to Nigel de Jong’s on Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup, as Alisson and Fabinho were unused throughout.

Whether any of Liverpool’s three Brazilians will start their semi-final against Peru on Tuesday is doubtful, but it is progress for the trio regardless.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - Wednesday, June 27, 2018: Brazil's goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Group E match between Serbia and Brazil at the Spartak Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was Firmino’s equaliser that got Brazil back into the game in their 2-1 comeback win over Colombia in the group stage, while Alisson kept a clean sheet in the opening 3-0 victory over Venezuela and Fabinho started against Peru (4-0 win) and Ecuador (1-1 draw).

Brazil are stand-in hosts for Copa America, having also hosted the 2019 tournament – which they won courtesy of a 3-1 final victory over Peru – and they could be considered favourites to seal back-to-back triumphs.

Uruguay play Colombia and Argentina take on Ecuador in Saturday’s quarter-finals, with the final to be held in Rio de Janeiro on July 10.