Can Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho make the Brazil World Cup squad?

The former Inter attacking midfielder is brimming with ability and playing in a winning team – can he get national recognition?

Brazil manager Felipe Luiz Scolari is not short of attacking talent to select from ahead of next summer’s World Cup on home soil.

However, one man that it may well pay to keep an eye on is Philippe Coutinho.

The Liverpool midfielder has returned from injury and is set to play a considerable role in Brendan Rodgers’ side’s assault on the Premier League top four. But, despite the presence of other top attacking midfielders in the current Brazil squad, could Coutinho have an outside chance of exclusion?

The British footballing community have only caught fleeting glimpses of the 21-year-old’s considerable talent since his January move to Anfield from Italy, but it was enough to have the Merseyside club’s faithful begging for more.

Devilishly creative and undoubtedly talented, Coutinho should have more of a chance to showcase exactly what he is capable of if Liverpool persist with their 3-5-2 system, with the South American taking up the number ten role.

Looking at the current Brazil squad to take on Honduras and Chile in upcoming friendlies, the midfield contingent are split into defensive and attacking options, with Coutinho obviously vying for a place the latter category.

Paulinho, Ramires, Luiz Gustavo, Hernanes and club team-mate Lucas Leiva fit the bill for defensive or box-to-box midfielders, with the responsibility for invention left to Oscar, Bernard and Willian.

With Lucas Moura, Ronaldinho and Kaka excluded this time round but still considered relatively recently, the task at hand is considerable for the Liverpool man.

However, there is no reason to suggest that he cannot add to his solitary senior Brazil cap, which was won back in 2010.

The fact that seven of the current 22-man squad play their football in the United Kingdom, and Scolari used to manage in England, means that Coutinho is playing in a league regularly monitored by the Brazilian powers that be.

Willian’s inclusion, despite only a handful of appearances for Chelsea since a summer move, shows that good form can be rewarded and Coutinho should use the former Shakhtar man’s example as motivation.

Much will depend on Liverpool’s continued good form, and as Lucas is monitored at Anfield, Coutinho will have a chance to impress also.

Despite this, the playmaker’s first job needs to be commanding a regular place in Brendan Rodgers’ side. If he can live up to his potential and reputation, he could well be on a plane back to his homeland next summer.

image: © Dean Jones

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