The Lowdown: Making the step up
The Premier League veteran only made ten top-flight starts last season but has already matched that number this term, having played a much more significant role since the departure of Sadio Mane over the summer.
Selecao manager Tite was one of the first international coaches to name his squad travelling to Qatar later this month, although there was a noticeable name missing from the list.
The Latest: Firmino omitted by Tite
On Tuesday morning, Sky Sports shared news of Brazil’s final 26-man squad, relaying that Firmino has been ‘left out’ and will not be competing at the World Cup, alongside three other players (Renan Lodi, Roban Ibanez and Matheus Cunha) who were cut from the penultimate squad from September.
The report states that Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli, who only has three caps for his country, has been ‘preferred’ to the Reds forward. However, the 31-year-old’s Liverpool team-mates Alisson Becker and Fabinho have made the cut.
The Verdict: Wrong decision
Firmino obviously isn’t getting any younger, although the decision to stop him from going to the tournament is the wrong one when you look at his form in the current campaign.
Dubbed a ‘stalwart’ by Jamie Carragher, the forward has scored eight goals and provided four assists in 19 appearances across all competitions, and is currently averaging 2.5 shots per league game, the third-most of any Liverpool player in 2022/23.
The Anfield star is the only straight replacement that Brazil have for Neymar, so Tite is taking a huge risk by not having sufficient squad depth in the top area of the pitch.
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