Alisson kicks off World Cup with clean sheet as Fabinho chance opens up

It was a winning start to the World Cup for Brazil, but only one of Liverpool’s two representatives were on the pitch as Alisson kept a clean sheet.

The first round of group games in Qatar is now over, with Brazil one of 11 nations to pick up a win in their opening game.

That came in a clash with Serbia on Thursday night, and Alisson started in an attacking side while Fabinho was left to settle for a place on the bench.

It was a hard-fought tie at the Lusail Iconic Stadium, with Serbia’s rigid defence holding firm and a robust approach taken in dealing with Neymar Jr.

But Brazil’s breakthrough came through Richarlison, who poked home after Vinicius Jr’s effort was palmed out by the impressive Vanja Milinkovic-Savic.

Richarlison produced a goal-of-the-tournament contender soon after, flicking up a ball into the box and sending a scorpion kick into the back of the net to clinch a 2-0 win.

Unlike Milinkovic-Savic at the opposite end, it was a largely quiet night for Alisson in goal for Brazil, as Serbia attempted five shots with none of them finding the target.

The No. 1 only touched the ball 26 times, with Richarlison (25) the only player who started the game to end with fewer, having come off with 12 minutes to play.

DOHA, QATAR - Thursday, November 24, 2022: Liverpool's Brazil's Fábio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' (R) and goalkeeper coach Claudio Tafferal (L) during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group G match between Brazil and Serbia at the Lusail Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There appeared to be an issue for Brazil manager Tite late on when, having already made his five substitutions, right-back Danilo pulled up with a suspected ankle injury.

If Danilo, the former Man City full-back, is unable to feature in the upcoming group games against Switzerland and Cameroon, there could present an opportunity for Fabinho.

While Fabinho is a natural defensive midfielder, he has often been fielded at right-back for his country, which may see Tite choose between him or 39-year-old Dani Alves as stand-in.