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Phil and Bobby call up

Liverpool duo Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino have both been included in Tite’s latest Brazil squad for two upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Brazil are set to take on Ecuador (September 1) and Colombia (September 5), safe in the knowledge that they have already sealed their place at next year’s tournament in Russia.

Though the Reds’ season is yet to begin, with five games between now and the first international break, Coutinho and Firmino have already been called up for duty.

Provided neither pick up injuries over the next three weeks, they will link up with Tite’s squad on August 28.

Their opening game comes at the Arena do Gremio in Porto Alegre at the start of September, where they will look to build on a 3-0 win over Paraguay in their last qualifier in March.

They will then travel to the Estadio Metropolitano in Barranquilla for their away clash with Colombia.

Unlike with recent international breaks, the pair will have ample time to return to Merseyside ahead of Liverpool’s next outing, which comes away to Man City on September 9.

Brazil are nine points clear at the top of the CONMEBOL qualification table, having won 10 and lost just one of their 14 games so far.

MUNICH, GERMANY - Tuesday, August 1, 2017: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino during the Audi Cup 2017 match between FC Bayern Munich and Liverpool FC at the Allianz Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Speaking on the announcement of his 23-man squad on Thursday afternoon, Tite hailed Firmino’s pre-season performances at the Audi Cup in Munich.

The 25-year-old has established himself as a reliable option up front for Brazil, and will be vying for a starting place with City youngster Gabriel Jesus.

Coutinho is likely to take up a key role on the flanks, opposite Neymar, who recently completed his world-record move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.

The likes of Dani Alves, Marcelo, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Fernandinho, Luan and Willian are also included in a very strong Brazil selection.

Despite his inclusion under Tite, Coutinho is currently sidelined with a back injury that is set to keep him out of Saturday’s away clash with Watford.

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