With the World Cup set to kick off in just about three weeks, the countries heading to Russia this summer are now meeting up and beginning their final preparations, and for two of those countries those preparations involve an Anfield friendly on Sunday.
Brazil will take on Croatia, with kickoff set for for 3PM BST on June 3rd, and for Liverpool fans there will be the chance to watch a pair of Reds in the flesh at Anfield, with Roberto Firmino in the Brazil squad and Dejan Lovren lining up for Croatia.
“It will be something unique to play at Anfield together with all Liverpool’s fans,” said Firmino, who is in a fight with Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus to start this summer. “It’s a great stadium with a lovely pitch. It will be a fantastic atmosphere.”
So far, the signs are that Brazil manager Tite prefers Jesus—though Firmino still believes he can convince the manager to change his plans, and Liverpool fans will be looking at his club form and wondering how he doesn’t end up in the starting eleven.
On form at least he deserves it, and watching Liverpool’s deadly attack with Firmino as false nine flanked by a pair of speedy, high-scoring wingers, one wonders if Brazil might be missing a trick by not copying that approach heading to Russia.
A front three with Neymar and Jesus to either side of him, with Jesus playing the more advanced poaching role down the right channel as Mohamed Salah does at Liverpool and Neymar the slightly deeper creator, would seem unstoppable.
Right now, though, that doesn’t appear to be the way Brazil will line up when they head to Russia. Still, there’s time for Firmino to convince Tite otherwise—or at least to convince him he should start. And a strong outing at Anfield would help with that.
“It will be a huge pleasure for me to play at home because this is my home,” Firmino added. “It will be a unique moment.”