Roberto Firmino is officially out of Brazil’s World Cup squad. The Liverpool star failed to make the cut despite great form.
Liverpool’s no.9 misses out, meaning he’ll remain with the Reds over the upcoming break. Brazil boss Tite instead goes with Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison and Pedro as his centre-forwards. No room for Firmino, then.
That’s despite wonderful form this season, too. Firmino has been sensational at times, scoring big goals and putting on fantastic displays. He has eight goals and four assists, with his six in the Premier League making him Liverpool’s joint-top goalscorer.
Admittedly, that form has dried up a bit. Firmino has zero goals or assists since the 7-1 win over Rangers – a run of seven games without a direct contribution, all of which were starts.
But Firmino is a ‘world-class’ player, in Pep Lijnders words. With his talent, there was an expectation that he’d make the tournament. At least, there was at Liverpool.
Roberto Firmino out of Brazil’s World Cup squad
It’s a blow for Firmino but this news will delight Liverpool – there’s no doubt about that. This is a difficult season as it is, with a congested fixture list either side of the World Cup.
Most top players won’t get a break, either. They’ll play that fixture list, then play the most intense tournament there is, then return for another run of tightly-packed games. The only respite goes to those who won’t play in Qatar.
Firmino, now 31, will undoubtedly benefit for not going. He’ll be fitter and stronger over the second-half of the season – something Liverpool need as they try to bounce back from their stuttering start.
The Brazilian joins an impressive list of players who will get a break, in fact. Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz, Andy Robertson, Diogo Jota and Joel Matip will all miss out. Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho won’t go, either. That’s a big chunk of the squad. We can’t imagine Ibrahima Konaté or Joe Gomez travelling on top of that and there are real questions about Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Liverpool, then, should be in good shape post-World Cup. It’s a blow for Firmino but for the Reds, this is undoubtedly good news.