Football Friendlies

There was a lot of buzz heading into Brazil’s friendly match with Croatia at Anfield on Sunday, and for several different reasons.

Football fans were anticipating the long-awaited return of Neymar to action after months injured and Roberto Firmino got a chance to play for his country at the home of his club.

However, the match, which Brazil won 2-0, saw Philippe Coutinho return to Merseyside for the time since leaving Liverpool for Barcelona back in January.

The Brazilian has settled in nicely at the Nou Camp, registering ten goals, five assists and already winning both La Liga and the Copa del Rey.

After receiving a fairly mixed reception before kick-off, Coutinho produced a moment to remind Reds fans in the crowd of just how technically gifted he really is.


The ex-Liverpool star lined up in Brazil’s starting XI against Croatia on the left of a front three alongside Willian and Gabriel Jesus.


As Tite looked for more attacking impetus, Fernandinho was sacrificed for Neymar at the interval, allowing Coutinho to drop back into an advanced central midfield role.

It paid dividends in the 69th-minute as Coutinho assisted Neymar’s brilliant individual goal, but the Barca man produced some lovely skill of his own in the first half.


With the score at 0-0, the 25-year-old was looking for a pass near the corner of the pitch when he was closed down by two Croatians.


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