Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino made some bold claims about Barcelona star and national compatriot, Philippe Coutinho, following Brazil's 5-0 triumph over Bolivia on Saturday. The 29-year-old labelled his former Liverpool teammate a 'magician' and hailed Coutinho as one of the best players in the world. Coutinho was pulling all the strings for Brazil during their 2022 World Cup qualifier against Bolivia at the Corinthians Arena and Firmino explained it was a complete joy to play alongside the midfielder.
While speaking to FIFA.com, Firmino, who played alongside Coutinho at Anfield between 2015 and 2018, hailed the Barcelona attacker as one of the best players in the world. "He's phenomenal, you can't tell me that he doesn't have special powers because he's simply a magician. Sometimes, he makes up plays that you don't think exist," said Firmino. The Liverpool No. 9 went on to add that it was a complete pleasure to play alongside Coutinho at Anfield and he's now relishing the opportunity to play with him in Brazil colours as well.
🗣️ Firmino exclusive on...— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) October 13, 2020
🏃♂️ Being asked to track back less
⚽️ Wanting to be the striker Brazil need
🧤 @Alissonbecker being the world's best keeper
🪄 The "magical powers" of @Phil_Coutinho
🤩 "Unbelievable" @neymarjr
🏆 His #WorldCup dream
Brazil began their 2022 World Cup qualifiers with a 5-0 win over Bolivia and it was Marquinhos who gave the hosts an early lead in the first half. Roberto Firmino then scored twice, either side of half-time before Jose Carrasco's own goal gave Brazil a 4-0 lead with 66 minutes on the clock. Coutinho then added a fifth on 73 minutes to make it 5-0. In addition to his goal, the 28-year-old Coutinho was involved in most of Brazil's attacks as he continued his bright start to the 2020-21 campaign.
Coutinho has already scored a goal and grabbed two assists for Barcelona in three LaLiga appearances this term. The attacking midfielder left Liverpool in January 2018 to join Barcelona but struggled in his first 18 months at the Camp Nou. Coutinho was then loaned out to Bayern Munich last season and helped the German giants to the treble of the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal Cup and Champions League.
Brazil will now turn their attention towards facing Peru in their second round of World Cup 2022 qualifying games on Tuesday, October 13. Tite's side are bound to face a much tougher challenge in the form of Peru, who came from behind to draw 2-2 against Paraguay in their first game of the qualifying rounds. Fans in India can watch Peru vs Brazil live on the Sony Sports Network (Wednesday, 5:30 am IST).