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Roberto Firmino Set for First Brazil Start Since Joining Liverpool

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The Liverpool star will start up top for Brazil, replacing the injured Gabriel Jesus as striker against Uruguay.

Brazil v Argentina - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifier Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Internationals may fill most Liverpool fans with more dread than anticipation, but a rare Brazil start for Roberto Firmino tonight in a marquee World Cup qualifier matchup against Uruguay could give them reason to seek out a little non-Liverpool football during this international break.

For one of the first times since he joined the club in 2015, both Firmino and club teammate Philippe Coutinho were called up to the Brazil squad. And both are set to start tonight, with Firmino replacing the injured Gabriel Jesus after the Manchester City striker broke his foot last month.

“Firmino has come in well, including scoring goals, and he has justified his selection,” Brazil manager Tite told reporters ahead of tonight’s match when asked about his decision to go with Firmino up top as his striker in a match that could all but assure Brazil of top spot in CONMEBOL qualification.

“I think we have a similar football, that's good,” was Firmino’s response when asked about his pending start. “Gabriel had the misfortune to get hurt, but I am was waiting and am ready to come in and help. I'm ready. It’s a great opportunity and if Tite chooses me, I'll do my best.”

Firmino’s last appearance for Brazil came in November with an 80th minute substitute appearance against Argentina. His last start for his country came in the 2015 Copa America quarter-finals against Paraguay while he was still a Hoffenheim player.

Tonight’s match against Uruguay is set to kick off at 11PM GMT/7PM EST from Montevideo’s Estadio Centenario and will be shown on beIN Sports in the United States.