Roberto Firmino and Fabinho were part of a disappointing Brazil performance in the early hours of the British morning. The Copa America champions put in a lacklustre display to fall to a late goal against Los Incas, losing 1-0. Peru ended the 5 time World Cup winners’ 17 match unbeaten streak.
The South American giants started a strong side. Roberto Firmino began the game in the number 9 role, flanked by Merseyside rival Richarlison and Ajax star David Neres. Fabinho began the game on the bench.
There has been much talk about Bobby’s role within the national side and last night’s friendly may have settled a long running debate. The Liverpool striker doesn’t fit the current mould set by Brazilian boss Tite. In recent games he has had to share the starting striker role with Gabriel Jesus and Neymar. It was Neymar that replaced Firmino on 63 minutes.
Tite’s system calls for a much more traditional number 9 than Firmino. The Liverpool front man has only regularly played in the striker role since signing for Liverpool. During his time at Hoffenheim, the Reds hero played as aggressively attacking midfielder. On Merseyside we have seen Bobby define his own role, more like a number 10 of old, with two inside forwards at his flank. He plays almost like an advanced false 9 at times – yes this sounds paradoxical but Firmino’s role is not easily defined. This enigmatic position has left him a difficult figure to pin down in the national side.
Fabinho came on after 64 minutes to replace Real Madrid defender Casemiro but couldn’t inspire the Seleção to victory.