Jurgen Klopp asked Brazil boss Tite not to select either Coutinho or Roberto Firmino for El Selecao’s end of season friendlies – but while he allowed Bobby the rest – he refused our manager’s Phil request.
Instead, Coutinho captained Brazil against Argentina and Australia from central midfield, elongating his season by almost three weeks.
Thankfully, he didn’t pick up any injuries, but is now on holiday while his Liverpool team-mates have returned to Melwood.
According to Tite, he agreed on Firmino because our attacker was playing through injuries towards the end of the season, but wanted to try Coutinho in a new position so picked him anyway.
“Firmino was in poor physical condition, he only played for Liverpool because of the importance of the games. I decided to rest him,” he explained, as reported by Brazil Stats.
“Klopp asked us to spare both players, however the medical report showed Coutinho is ready, so we told Klopp that we will select him.
“Firmino wouldn’t have played if Liverpool weren’t fighting for a Champions League spot.
“We understood his medical condition so we spared him.
“Klopp wanted Coutinho to rest, but I insisted on selecting him because I had never tried him in central midfield, I wanted to do it.”
Along with Sadio Mane, our Brazilian duo were completely key in 2016/17. This term, Klopp is likely to field the trio alongside Mo Salah – our exciting £36.9m signing from Roma.
We reckon Coutinho will be dropped deeper to increase our creativity from central areas, while Salah will take his place on the left and inject more pace and directness into the attack.