Roberto Firmino last featured for Brazil 11 months ago, but manager Tite has namechecked the Liverpool forward as a player that will still come under World Cup consideration.
Firmino’s last appearance for the Selecao came in the Copa America final defeat to Argentina last July, with injury and form since keeping him out of contention.
While Alisson and Fabinho have been readily turned to, Firmino remained on Merseyside throughout the season and watched on as competition in Brazil’s forward line hots up.
The likes of Neymar, Vinicius Jr, Richarlison, Gabriel Jesus, Raphinha and Matheus Cunha are all vying for spots in a World Cup squad that can cater to only 23 players.
And Liverpool’s No. 9 has some way to catch up to the pack after a hot and cold season that saw a handful of injuries continually disrupt any attempts at finding momentum.
But Tite has namechecked Firmino as one of a handful of players that he has ‘not forgotten’ with the World Cup now five months away.
“You have five months until the Cup. We didn’t forget Firmino, Douglas Luiz, we didn’t forget Emerson, Rodrigo Caio, Lucas Verissimo,” Tite said, via Globo.
“We have to be connected to these 45, 50 players.
“I still don’t have a lineup, the team is open, not only the final call-up, but the starting lineup is open.”
Tite is to name a preliminary 26-man squad before trimming it down to 23 for Qatar and Firmino will hope to take the opportunity to impress when the season restarts in August.
But it is not the only battle to be on the No. 9’s hands as the Reds’ competition for places is to be just as fierce, even if Sadio Mane is to depart as a replacement will be sought – Darwin Nunez‘s name is currently being thrown into the public domain.
With a contract expiring in 2023 and a firm desire to remain at Anfield, it is a decisive summer and season ahead for the 30-year-old.