Coutinho can be world's best if he stays at Liverpool – Lucio

The defender believes his countryman has the potential to become one of football’s greats and urged the playmaker to remain at Anfield

Philippe Coutinho can become the best player in the world – if he remains at Liverpool, according to former team-mate Lucio.

The Brazil international has become Jurgen Klopp’s centric playmaker with a number of scintillating performances since the German took charge at Anfield.

Fellow countryman Lucio, who played alongside the Reds star at Inter between 2009 and 2012, believes Coutinho has the ability to be the world’s very best and credits himself for the 23-year-old’s professionalism.

“I am very happy that he is having success at Liverpool,” Lucio told Sky Sports

GOAL READ MORE   Tuchel keen to avoid Klopp until Europa League final 

“There is potential to be the best player in the world, of that there is no doubt. But it will depend on what happens around him. He is only going to get better.

“When he was at Inter, he wasn’t playing and we got closer, and lived nearby to each other.

“My family got to know his family, and gave all our support, and we helped him achieve what he has with that support. Everything that he is doing now is down to his marriage and family. His attitude is perfect.”

Coutinho, who joined Liverpool for £8.5 million in 2013, has been linked with Barcelona in recent months.

However, Lucio says the attacker must turn down Camp Nou and remain on Merseyside, and expects Coutinho to prosper further under Klopp’s tutelage.

“I think that is a personal decision for him. Barcelona have a lot of great players –  that could leave him in the shadows,” Lucio added.

“Liverpool is the right place for him to become the best. He has his space, and can play where he wants.”

Coutinho travels to Sion but Ibe out with illness

The Brazilian has missed four games due to a hamstring problem but is back in contention for the final group game in the competition, while the winger has a cold

Philippe Coutinho is part of Liverpool’s travelling squad for the Europa League clash in Sion, but Jordon Ibe is left out due to illness.

The Brazilian playmaker has missed the past four games due to a hamstring problem, but took part in training on Wednesday and is now available again.

Daniel Sturridge is expected to be out for weeks due to the same complaint, but captain Jordan Henderson is on the flight to Switzerland.

Lucas, Alberto Moreno and Joe Allen have stayed on Merseyside, as Jurgen Klopp has decided to rest the trio.

The squad is otherwise full-strength. Connor Randall and Ryan Fulton, who have both signed new contracts with the club on Wednesday, are part of the party along with Brad Smith.

Liverpool top Group B, and are a point ahead of their hosts. The Reds have already qualified for the knockout stages of the tournament.

Henderson & Sturridge to feature for Liverpool – but Coutinho remains a doubt

The England pair will both be options at St Mary’s for the Reds boss, who is leaving it late to decide whether the Brazilian playmaker will also make the trip

GOALBy Melissa Reddy

Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson are both set to feature for Liverpool’s Capital One Cup quarter-final against Southampton on Wednesday, but Philippe Coutinho remains a doubt.

Henderson and Sturridge, who both returned to action as substitutes in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Swansea, are set to travel to St Mary’s, but are likely to be options off the bench rather than candidates to start.

“They have had no physical reaction [after Sunday’s game]. It’s good news and they did their job,” Klopp explained at his press briefing at Melwood.

“That was good and important for us. They helped us keep the result, which was not easy – especially for Jordan in his position.

“Daniel did what we spoke about before, that he should be our target for winning balls, once we got the ball be an option, the first option. That’s what he did; everybody could see his quality in a few moments. It was good for us.

“Now the problem with the Southampton game is we cannot ignore that it could be extra-time. I’m sure 120 minutes would be too much for both.

“We don’t have to think about starting, we cannot go into a game and know we have to change these two players for sure.

“But if nothing happens from now until the plane has started, they’ll join us and be in the squad and we again have these two options.”

GOALREAD MORE Klopp: It’s normal to have Gerrard at Liverpool

Coutinho, meanwhile, will require a late fitness check as Klopp is loathe to unnecessarily risk him.

“I cannot make decisions in this moment because we have another training [session] today,” explained the Reds boss.

“At the end, we have to talk about everything again with the medical department and talk to Phil. It will be close, possible, but we have to check and double check the situation and then we’ll make a decision. We have to wait.”

Klopp detailed the factors involved in selecting his best 11. “The strongest team depends on your situation – how much they played in the last few days,” he said.

“We can’t ignore the last two games and we can’t ignore the next game, that’s the situation.

“Usually you need a completely full squad in the best space; for this, in an ideal world, you need six angry players who are not in the squad. That’s not our situation and we have to think about it.

“It’s a puzzle but at the end it will be the strongest team, for sure.”

Liverpool are looking to make it four wins on the spin and take a step closer to silverware before they travel to Newcastle in the league on Sunday.

Klopp to play 'strongest team' in League Cup

The German manager believes he lacks the squad depth to rest key players for the trip to Southampton on Wednesday and hopes Philippe Coutinho will be fit to return

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he will play his strongest team in Wednesday’s League Cup encounter against Southampton as he believes the Reds lack the squad depth to rest key players.

Klopp’s men travel to St Mary’s looking to earn a place in the competition’s semi-finals and the German admitted he does not have a group of players on the fringes of the first team desperate to make an impact.

“In an ideal world, you need six angry players who are not in the squad, but that’s not our situation,” he told reporters. “It will be a puzzle, but it will be the strongest team, for sure.

“The biggest fault you can make is to think about the next round. Our focus is on Southampton only. They’re pretty hot on this game, they’ve lost their last two games and they want to bounce back.

“If we want to go through we have to fight. I knew Southampton from before. They’re a good team, brilliant offensively. [Dusan] Tadic is difficult to play against.

“We’re still far away from the final. I’m excited and looking forward to the game, but you have to respect the situation.”

GOALREAD MORE Klopp rules out Butland bid

Philippe Coutinho could return after a hamstring injury for Liverpool, who welcomed captain Jordan Henderson and striker Daniel Sturridge back against Swansea City on Sunday.

“I can’t make a decision about Coutinho right now because we haven’t trained yet,” Klopp added. “But he will be close to being ready. It’s possible that he will play.

“The return of Sturridge and Henderson was good news. They did their job, which was important for us to keep the result. It was not easy.

“Daniel did what we spoke about before. He should be our target for winning balls, be the first option. That’s what he did. Everyone could see Sturridge’s quality.

“We cannot ignore that this game could have overtime, 120 minutes would be too much for both. But if nothing happens from now, they will be in the squad. We have these two options.”

Klopp reveals Coutinho is 'ready for Southampton'

The Brazilian should return to action at St Mary’s Stadium after a minor hamstring injury, boosting the Reds’ chances of a fourth successive win under the manager

GOALBy Melissa Reddy

Jurgen Klopp expects the talents of Philippe Coutinho to be on display when Liverpool travel to face Southampton in the League Cup quarter-final.

The Reds will tackle Ronald Koeman’s men on Wednesday, and Klopp is expecting the Brazilian – who has netted four times in his last three appearances – to be available for the encounter.

Coutinho picked up a minor hamstring problem in the 4-1 win over Manchester City, and sat out Liverpool’s Europa League victory over Bordeaux as a precaution.

GOALREAD MORE Klopp: More to come from Firmino

He was also not in the matchday squad as Klopp secured his first Premier League triumph at home, with Swansea overcome 1-0 on Sunday evening.

However, the Reds boss revealed that Coutinho has been training well, and Liverpool took a safety-first approach with him.

“Philippe had a very intensive session yesterday, but we decided two or three days ago that we didn’t want to risk [him] for this game,” said Klopp.

“Now I think he’s fit. I saw him in the dressing room and he looks good. I’ll have to talk with him tomorrow – I think he’s ready for Southampton.”

The Anfield outfit will be looking for their fourth consecutive win in all competitions when they take on the Saints at St Mary’s Stadium.

Neymar, Coutinho & Thiago Silva – The Brazil stars who made the Goal 50

The Selecao trio were named among the greatest players on the planet in 2015 as Lionel Messi claimed the prestigious award for the fourth time since its inception in 2008

Three Brazil internationals have made the prestigious Goal 50 list.

Barcelona star Neymar, Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva were among those named by Goal as the world’s 50 greatest players based on their performances over the past 12 months.

Chief editors and correspondents from Goal’s 37 editions around the world all cast their votes, with candidates judged on their level of consistency over the previous year of action, their big-game performances, footballing legacy and the success of their teams at both club and international level.

On Friday Goal announced that Lionel Messi had claimed the title for the fourth title.

Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the award since its inception in 2008, claiming seven titles between them, with only Wesley Sneijder breaking their duopoly on the award after claiming the title in 2010 when he inspired Inter to Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League triumph.


Neymar was named captain of Brazil following the appointment of coach Dunga in July 2014 and has inspired the side to 6 consecutive Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour victories over the calendar year.

He has also starred for Barcelona, helping form the devastating attacking trident with Messi and Luis Suarez that scored a staggering 122 goals last season as the Catalans claimed a famous treble.

The 23-year-old made history in June as he became the first player to score in both quarter-finals, both semi-finals and final of the Champions League as Barca claimed their fifth European crown.

The former Santos man also joined an elite list of players to have lifted both the Copa Libertadores and the Champions League while becoming the first player to net for the winning team in the finals of both competitions.


After initially cementing a place in the Brazil squad as a Dunga favourite during the coach’s first 12 months in charge, the Liverpool man has been in and out of the international setup in recent months.

But his inspired form for Liverpool, particularly since the arrival at Anfield of new coach Jurgen Klopp, will likely see him return to the Selecao before too long.

Named as the Reds’ Players’ Player of the Year and Fans’ Player of the Year last season, he was also named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year as he made over 50 appearances for his club, convincing former Brazil great Ronaldinho that he will soon be mentioned among the best players in the game.

And after a stuttering start for the club this season, he has rediscovered his sensational form in recent weeks and will hopeful of returning to the Selecao as World Cup qualification resumed in March next year.


Thiago Silva has once again been in inspired form for PSG, leading the French giants to a domestic treble last term as captain.

A consummate leader both on and off the field, his cool head and flawless defensive displays ensured Laurent Blanc’s side conceded less than a goal a game in Ligue 1 last season.

He appears to face an uphill struggle to return to the national team but there were fresh calls from the local media to hand him an international reprieve following November’s 1-1 draw with Argentina in Buenos Aires.

And with David Luiz suspended after receiving a red card in that game, the former Fluminense and Milan man will be hopeful that he will once again hear Dunga read his name ahead of March’s clash with Uruguay.

Coutinho to miss Bordeaux clash with minor injury

The Brazilian was replaced against Manchester City with suspected cramp, but has undertaken a scan which revealed minimal damage

GOALBy Melissa Reddy

Philippe Coutinho is set to sit out Liverpool’s Europa League clash with Bordeaux at Anfield due to a minor hamstring injury, with the club not expecting the Brazilian to be sidelined for long.

The 23-year-old was replaced on 68 minutes against Manchester City on Saturday evening, after delivering an inspired display in an incredible 4-1 win.

It was originally thought that he had cramp, with the medical team planning to wait 48 hours for the niggle to settle before drawing any conclusions.

However, it was decided Coutinho should be sent to Newton-le-Willows for a scan on Monday evening.

The results revealed minimal damage but the Brazilian should play no part in Thursday night’s encounter.

GOALREAD MORE  | EXCLUSIVE: Coutinho’s amazing 2015

He has not started the previous two Europa League clashes under Jurgen Klopp, and would have likely been rested regardless.

There is a hope Liverpool’s Player of the Year could feature against Swansea on Sunday, with his fitness to be monitored closely on Friday and Saturday.

Given the injury problems the club have suffered this season though, they will be loathe to unnecessarily risk Coutinho, who has again proved to be their standout star.

Coutinho tattoos his brilliance on 2015 – Liverpool's magician set for the very top

The 23-year-old has crowned the finest year of his career to date by being named in the 2015 Goal 50 – and the playmaker has the potential to be one of the world’s best


Philippe Coutinho rubs the tattoos which decorate his arms as he talks. This is a way to cope with his shyness, but it is also comforting as the ink stretching from his fingers to his bicep are tributes to his parents, siblings, and his wife Aine.

Everything he has achieved, he owes to them. Each new success reminds him of old struggles and how his support structure elevated him above and beyond imagination.

The Brazilian is seated in the revamped reception area at Melwood, with its wooden accents as well as white and gold detailing, following another intense training session. He is typically reserved, but there is a dabble of disbelief too at his place among Goal‘s 50 best players in the world.

Coutinho may be Liverpool’s gold dust, but he is also the boy next door; a footballer so removed from the egotism of the modern game. “Me?,” he asks Goal, as if to make sure. “As one of the top 50 in the world? I am thankful.”

The 23-year-old doesn’t fully appreciate how special a talent he is, or perhaps he doesn’t want to: there’s too many areas of his game to advance and he’s not one for complacency nor compliments. He is happier than he’s ever been in his career though, which is at its most stable stage.

Coutinho made 52 appearances last season, the largest number in his professional career, dwarfing his overall run-outs at Inter. He also registered his highest number of goals to date – eight in all competitions – as well as numerous assists and memorable moments, including a stunning winner over Manchester City at Anfield on March 1.

Only last weekend, Coutinho once more put City to the sword – masterminding a stunning 4-1 win at the Etihad Stadium. He scored once again, already his fifth Premier League strike this season. The ex-Inter man just keeps getting better and better.

“I feel that I’ve grown a lot as a player,” he says. “I’ve spent time working on the areas I knew I needed to improve, like scoring more, and I still have to push myself but I’ve come a long way.

“I had some difficulties in Italy when I was younger; only a few chances to play, injuries, not feeling my best, worrying about my family, but everything has fallen into place. I’m happy now and settled.

GOALREVEALED: The Premier League stars in the Goal 50

“I’m playing all the time, I’m learning and becoming stronger so this is all good for me.

“Every game day is special for me. The hours seem to go so slow, when I want it to come faster. I can’t wait for kick off, because I love playing. I still feel all these emotions before a match.”

It has been a monumental 2015 for the player who grew up in the shadow of the Maracana Stadium. Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez both pinpointed him as the one to uplift the Merseyside club.

“Liverpool should really treasure Philippe,” the former skipper wrote in his autobiography, My Story. “I believe he is on his way to becoming Liverpool’s main man and a top player in world football. Watch this space.”

The Barcelona ace, meanwhile, detailed how the playmaker is “the difference” at Liverpool. “Philippe was incredible. He changed us completely. He’s the one that gave us faith in having the ball because his technical ability is so good.

“You knew that he wouldn’t lose it, you knew that he would produce something special with it, that he would always choose the right pass.”

Coutinho is his club’s Player of the Year, and represented his country at this year’s Copa America in Chile – scoring his maiden international goal in a friendly against Mexico before the tournament. He has been courted by Barcelona and is cherished by Liverpool, who handed him a new five-year contract in February. A banner in his honour is waved on the Kop and his name is sung on the terraces.

GOALREAD MORE  | Henderson confident over fitness

“It’s been personally a good year for me, with big moments, some good goals and receiving awards,” he says.

“To be named the best player at Liverpool was an honour and not something I could’ve imagined a few years ago. 

“I represented my country at the Copa, which I was proud of and even though I’m young, I feel like a senior player now. It will be a year I won’t forget.

“I’m more complete, with more confidence and different experiences to learn from.”

It still nags at Coutinho that while his year was individually impressive, Liverpool have stuttered after failing to qualify for this season’s Champions League. “Because we missed out on our objectives as a team, it was also a frustrating year. For me, it can only really be successful if you fight for trophies and win them. So from a team point of view, which is the most important part, it was not the best.”

The club are hoping that will be remedied with the alteration at the helm. Brendan Rodgers, who encouraged the midfielder to “show his fire and never stop fighting,” was replaced by Jurgen Klopp at the start of October. The Northern Irishman refined the combative aspects of Coutinho’s game and helped him learn how to dominate and not just decorate encounters.

After a slow start to the season, the Rio-born talent has taken to his new boss too and his teachings of emotional football. A difference in the dugout was never going to derail Coutinho, who witnessed six coaches enter and exit Inter while he was still on their books.

Klopp is the ninth mentor the player has had since moving to Europe in 2010: Mauricio Pochettino, whom he worked with on loan at Espanyol, and Rodgers join the sextet from the Italian giants.

“At Inter, there were many different managers in and out so you get used to change,” Coutinho explained. “Of course, since I came to Liverpool, Brendan helped me a lot, taught me a lot and was very good for my career.

“He gave me a proper chance and showed me many ways to be a better player.

“The new manager has also been really good since coming in. He is very open, you can talk to him about anything, he is very passionate and encouraging. His instructions are simple, but he pushes us a lot and there is a good feeling around the place.

“He has big energy and it rubs off on us. He wants us to enjoy the game, have fun, but also give it all our respect.”

What trick does O Mágico (The Magician) aim to execute next? “I will always keep learning and pushing myself. I always want to be better,” he insists.

“I want my family and friends to be proud of me, and I want to be proud of me. Every day is a new chance to grow, and that is what I want. Team trophies will be important. That is a main thing.

“I become a father soon so that is another exciting challenge – a blessing – that I cannot wait for.”

Coutinho will add another tattoo to his sleeve in honour of his unborn daughter, who is due next month. With a new family member to make proud, he plans to ensure 2016 overshadows his achievements this year.

Neymar, Firmino, Coutinho, Hulk & the stars of Dunga's perfect Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour 2015

CBGT takes a look back at a year in which the Selecao boss saw off the likes of France and Chile to maintain his 100% record in friendly games for the five-time world champions

Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour 2015
26/03/2015 Brazil 3-1 France Paris (France)
Brazil 1-0 Chile London (England)
07/06/2015 Brazil 2-0 Mexico Sao Paulo (Brazil)
10/06/2015 Brazil 1-0 Honduras Porto Alegre (Brazil)
05/09/2015 Brazil 1-0 Costa Rica Harrison (USA)
08/09/2015 Brasil 4-1 USA Foxboro (USA)

2015 was busy year for Brazil, though slightly less hectic than the previous 12 months in which the Selecao played out a World Cup to forget. This year was about putting “the 7-1” behind them. The Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour saw the Selecao visit six cities, four countries, and three continents as Dunga’s side saw off six opponents to make it 12 consecutive friendly victories since the coach’s July 2014 appointment.

The calendar kicked off in earnest with a meeting with France in Paris that was followed up less than 72 hours by a match against Chile in London. Those first two outings of the post-World Cup 2014 era pitted the Selecao against strong opposition and served to restore some of the confidence that was left at an all-time low by the defeat to Germany in Belo Horizonte. Dunga sought to usher in an evolution, bringing in a number of new faces as well some old friends. And the year ended with the coach’s perfect Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour record intact.

Below, CBGT revisits our six tour stops of 2015.

BRAZIL 3-1 FRANCE – 26/03/2015

Competition: Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour friendly
Venue: Stade de France
Referee Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)
Goals: Raphael Varane; Oscar, Neymar, Luiz Gustavo

Jefferson, Danilo, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Filipe Luis, Elias (Marcelo), Luiz Gustavo (Fernandinho), Willian (Douglas Costa), Oscar (Souza), Neymar, Roberto Firmino (Luiz Adriano)


Steve Mandanda, Bacary Sagna, Raphael Varane, Mamadou Sakho, Patrice Evra, Moussa Sissoko (Geoffrey Kondogbia), Morgan Schneiderlin, Blaise Matuidi (Olivier Giroud) – Mathieu Valbuena (Dimitri Payet), Karim Benzema, Antoine Griezmann (Nabil Fekir)

The year began in March against the nation that dashed Dunga’s hopes of lifting the World Cup for a second time, in 1998. The two captains from Brazil’s 3-0 loss to France sat opposite one another in the dugouts. Though Dunga stressed this game was never about revenge, he would no doubt have taken particular pleasure in exorcising a few of his personal ghosts. Brazil had worked extensively on set pieces in the lead-up to the match, so the coaching staff were left frustrated after Real Madrid man Raphael Varane headed the hosts into a 21st-minute lead.

Chelsea midfielder Oscar was one of the members of the World Cup 2014 squad who survived Dunga’s cull and rewarded his new coach by grabbing the equaliser 20 minutes later, netting his 12th goal for Brazil. The Selecao then found their counter-attacking rhythm as Neymar put them ahead before Luiz Gustavo headed the third to seal a victory that pleased the press back at home. Brazil had their groove back.

BRAZIL 1-0 CHILE – 29/03/2015

Competition: Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour friendly
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Martin Atkinson (England)
Goals: Roberto Firmino
Jefferson, Danilo, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Marcelo (Filipe Luis), Souza (Elias), Fernandinho, Douglas Costa, (Willian), Philippe Coutinho (Robinho), Neymar, Luiz Adriano (Roberto Firmino).
Claudio Bravo, Mauricio Isla, Miiko Albornoz, Gonzalo Jara – Arturo Vidal (Eduardo Vargas), Charles Aranguiz, Gary Medel, Rodrigo Millar (Matias Fernandez), Eugenio Mena (Mark Gonzalez) – Pedro Pablo Hernandez, Alexis Sanchez.

Forward Roberto Firmino was the star of the show in Brazil’s second victory of 2015, upstaging both Neymar and Alexis Sanchez as the Selecao saw off a physical Chile side in London. A fiercely contested match saw Dunga field a much changed line-up due to the limited recovery time available to the players after the France game, with only Jefferson, Danilo, Thiago Silva, Miranda and Neymar retaining their places.

Douglas Costa and Philippe Coutinho were given chance to impress, as was veteran Robinho – who had netted nine goals in just eight previous games against Chile. Firmino watched from the bench in the first half as the game produced few opportunities for both sides. He was introduced in the second period and made an immediate impact, latching onto a Danilo through-ball to round the goalkeeper and net the only goal of the game. It was a strike that confirmed Firmino’s place for the upcoming Copa America. Brazil were now on a roll, with eight wins in eight games under Dunga.

BRAZIL 2-0 MEXICO – 07/06/2015

Competition: Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour friendly
Venue: Allianz Parque (Sao Paulo)
Julio César Quintana (Paraguay)
Goals: Philippe Coutinho, Diego Tardelli
Brazil: Jefferson, Danilo, (Fabinho), Miranda, David Luiz, Filipe Luis, Fernandinho, Elias, (Casemiro), Willian, (Douglas Costa), Philippe Coutinho, (Everton Ribeiro), Fred (Felipe Anderson), Diego Tardelli (Roberto Firmino)
Mexico: Jesus Corona, Hugo Ayala (Carlos Salcedo), Rafa Marquez, Julio Cesar Domínguez – George Corral (Gerardo Flores), Mario Osuna (Marco Fabián), Javier Guemez (Juan Carlos Medina), Jesus Manuel Corona (Luis Montes Jimenez), Adrian Aldrete – Eduardo Herrera, Raul Jimenez (Matías Vuoso).

For the first time in 2015, Brazil were forced to take to the field without captain Neymar when they hosted Mexico ahead of the Copa America. The Barcelona star had been busy in Berlin the previous day, writing yet more history as he fired his club side to the Champions League title.

Without him, the Selecao struggled to find any real cohesion going forward. Mexico threatened to cause an upset as Brazil controlled possession but failed to carve out many clear chances. It was a big night for Liverpool’s Phillipe Coutinho, who was given a chance to prove he can be a worthy deputy to Neymar – and it was a chance he grabbed with both hands he scored a wonderful goal before Diego Tardelli netted to ensure Dunga’s 100 pe cent record remained intact. Brazil had feared they would be in for a frosty reception in what was their first game since World Cup 2014, but the locals received their returning stars with open arms.

BRAZIL 1-0 HONDURAS – 10/06/2015

Competition: Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour friendly
Venue: Estadio Gigante da Beira-Rio
Gery Vargas (Bolivia)
Goals: Roberto Firmino
Brazil: Jefferson, Fabinho (Marquinhos), Miranda, David Luiz (Thiago Silva), Filipe Luis, Casemiro, Fernandinho, Willian, (Douglas Costa), Philippe Coutinho (Neymar), Fred (Elias), Roberto Firmino (Robinho).
Honduras: Noel Valladares, Brayan Beckeles, Jhonny Palacios, Jhonny Leveron, Henry Figueroa, Emilio Izaguirre (Brayan Garcia) – Luis Garrido (Alfredo Mejia), Boniek Garcia (Mario Martinez), Brayan Acosta (Carlos Discua) – Andy Najar (Will Mejía), Anthony Lozano (Erick Andino).

On a cold and rainy night in Porto Alegre, the Selecao saw few fans brave the elements to turn out at the Beira Rio stadium, where Dunga had begun his career with local side Internacional. It was Brazil’s final match before kicking off their Copa America campaign and they were without right-back Danilo, who suffered an injury against Mexico that would keep him out of the tournament in Chile. Monaco’s Fabinho replaced him in the side and Thiago Silva was dropped in favour of David Luiz. Real Madrid midfielder Casmeiro was also given a chance to impress in midfield.

Neymar was back and made an appearance of the substitutes’ bench in a narrow victory that once again saw Firmino come to Brazil’s rescue. The performance sparked some fresh concerns as Dunga prepared his side for their first competitive match since the World Cup but Firmino once again ensured the winning streak continued, netting the only goal of the game after 32 minutes to give the Selecao victory in Porto Alegre – they had now won ten on the bounce under their new coach.

BRAZIL 1-0 COSTA RICA – 05/09/2015

Competition: Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour friendly
Venue: Red Bull Arena
Referee Mathieu Boudreau (Canada)
Goals: Hulk

Marcelo Grohe, Danilo, Miranda, David Luiz, Marcelo, Luiz Gustavo, (Rafinha Alcântara), Fernandinho (Elias), Willian (Lucas), Douglas Costa, (Neymar), Lucas Lima, (Philippe Coutinho), Hulk (Kaká)

Costa Rica: 

Patrick Pemberton, Oscar Duarte, Johnny Acosta, Giancarlo Gonzalez – Christian Gamboa (Dave Myrie), Celso Borges, Yeltsin Tejeda (David Guzmán), Johan Venegas (Deyver Vega), Bryan Ruiz (Daniel Colindres) – Marco Urena (Joel Campbell), Ronald Matarrita.

The Copa America proved disappointing for Brazil as they exited in the quarter-final following a penalty-shootout defeat to Paraguay. However, by now attentions had already turned to the upcoming World Cup qualification campaign and Dunga made a number of changes to the squad that went to Chile, with the likes of Thiago Silva banished while Hulk returned for the first time in over a year. Kaka also returned, while Gremio’s Marcelo Grohe replaced Jefferson in goal. Santos playmaker Lucas Lima also joined the squad and would make his debut for the national team.

The clash with Costa Rica marked a year since Dunga’s reappointment and it would be the penultimate test before qualification began. With Neymar suspended for the first two qualifiers following a red card against Colombia at Copa America, Hulk inspired the Selecao to victory with the only goal of the game in New Jersey.

BRAZIL 4-1 USA – 08/09/2015

Competition: Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour friendly
Venue: Gillette tadium
Referee Joel Aguilar (El Salvador)
Gols: Hulk, Neymar (2), Rafinha Alcantara e Danny Willians

Marcelo Grohe, Fabinho, Miranda (Marquinhos), David Luiz, Marcelo, Luiz Gustavo, (Fernandinho), Elias, Willian (Neymar), Lucas Lima (Lucas), Douglas Costa (Rafinha Alcantara), Hulk (Roberto Firmino)

Costa Rica: 

Tim Howard, Michael Orozco, Ventura Alvarado, Geoff Cameron (Jonathan Spector), Tim Ream – Michael Bradley (Aron Jóhannsson), Jermaine Jones (Mix Diskerud), DeAndre Yedlin, Alejandro Bedoya (Danny s) – Gyasi Zardes (Bobby Wood), Jozy Altidore (Jordan Morris).

Brazil ended the year with their most complete performance of 2015, hammering USA 4-1 in Boston with Neymar the star of the show, as he came off the bench at half-time to score twice in their last match before kicking off their World Cup qualifying campaign. Neymar’s Barcelona team-mate Rafinha Alcantara also impressed, scoring a wonderful goal to round off a comprehensive victory at the Gillette Stadium that won back the confidence of the Brazilian media.

2015 on the Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour proved a hugely successful year for Dunga and his charges. We’ll be back next year as CBGT continues to take the legendary Brazilian national team on its world tour.

Klopp optimistic over Coutinho injury

The midfielder was substituted after 68 minutes of Liverpool’s 4-1 win over Manchester City

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is hopeful Philippe Coutinho’s injury is nothing too serious.

The Brazil international picked up a knock in his side’s 4-1 Premier League win over Manchester City at the Etihad and was forced to leave the pitch after 68 minutes.

Coutinho – who scored Liverpool’s second goal and made the third for his compatriot Roberto Firmino – has yet to undergo further examination on his injury, but Klopp is optimistic he will not be out of action too long.

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“I hope Coutinho is well enough. He showed not a real [injury], it was a little bit of cramp, he felt something,” Klopp told reporters.

“I hope that’s all. He will be very important for us, everybody can see he’s in really good shape in this moment.

“I hope he can react well enough.”