He may have scored a spectacular goal as Liverpool got their Premier League campaign off to a winning start last Sunday, but there’s no place for Philippe Coutinho in the Brazil squad as boss Dunga named his side for their upcoming friendlies with Costa Rica and the United States.
Although he made an obvious mistake leaving Coutinho out, the Selecao manager did find a place for his Liverpool teammate Roberto Firmino with the Hoffenheim transplant set to join Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista, Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho and Chelsea trio Willian, Oscar and Ramires in the Brazil side.
“We gave him a chance in Copa America. You can’t build with just youngsters, you need experience to help,” said Dunga in his press conference yesterday with the Brazil great recalling Hulk and Kaka in his place — a player who, ironically enough, was full of praise for the Reds 23-year old magician earlier this week, saying that the Anfield outfit can build the team around him the way they did Steven Gerrard.
“I have been a big admirer of Coutinho and he can be a very important player for Liverpool and Brazil,” said the former AC Milan midfielder. “There will be a lot of expectation on him with Liverpool fighting to get back into the Champions League, but I know that he can handle it,” he continued. “One great player doesn’t make a team, but you can build a team around one great player, and I believe he can be that player. Coutinho is a humble guy. He won’t talk about being able to replace a legend like Steven Gerrard, and the truth is nobody could ever replace him, but with Gerrard gone they do need somebody to step up — and he can do that.”