Natal (Brazil), Oct 5 (IANS) Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho is poised to replace Chelsea’s Willian in Brazil’s starting line-up for their 2018 football World Cup qualifier against Bolivia on Thursday.
Coutinho was used as a substitute in Brazil’s victories over Ecuador and Colombia in last month’s qualifiers, making an impact on both occasions after substituting Willian, reports Xinhua news agency.
During Brazil’s training session here on Tuesday, Coutinho featured in coach Tite’s starting line-up, just behind forwards Neymar and Gabriel Jesus.
Coutinho has been in fine form for Liverpool this season, racking up three goals, two assists and 29 shots on goal in seven English Premier League (EPL) appearances.
Tite’s first eleven on Tuesday also included Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho, Atletico Madrid left-back Filipe Luis and Zenit Saint Petersburg midfielder Giuliano.
Fernando and Filipe Luis are expected to replace injured Real Madrid pair Casemiro and Marcelo on Thursday while Giuliano is likely to start in place of the suspended Paulinho.
Brazil are currently second in the 10-team South American qualifying group for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The clash against Bolivia will be followed by another qualifier against Venezuela in the Andean city of Merida next Tuesday.