Published: Sun, June 03, 2018

Philippe Coutinho Relishing Anfield Return, Brazil Star Says

Philippe Coutinho Relishing Anfield Return, Brazil Star Says

On Sunday he returned to Merseyside for the first time as Brazil continued their preparation for the World Cup against Croatia and why wouldn't it be at Anfield.

"I think he is looking forward to going back to Anfield, to Liverpool", the Brazilian said at a press conference.

The change paid off as the Paris Saint-Germain star gifted Selecao the lead with a superb solo effort after 69 minutes.

And Neymar needed just 23 minutes to prove how important he is to Brazil's hopes of a sixth world title.

Willian and Coutinho combined before the ball was played for Neymar in the build-up to his goal, he cut inside after beating Sime Vrsaljko with clever close control before firing a shot into the net via the crossbar.

Neymar ran behind the goal, in front of Anfield's legendary Kop end, and punched the air in delight as he was mobbed by team-mates.

Brazil and Croatia are in Liverpool as they prepare for the World Cup later this month.

Facing a race to be fit for Brazil's World Cup opener against Switzerland on June 17, Neymar will get a chance to use Sunday's clash at Anfield to show he is ready to lead the five-time world champions in Russian Federation.

There was still work to do but Neymar somehow managed to force the ball past goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and in off the cross-bar from the edge of the six-yard area.

The defeat was Croatia's second in their last three friendly games (won one) ahead of the FIFA World Cup.

It was a moment of high quality largely out of keeping with a drab game and lifted Brazil, whose passing found an extra gear in the aftermath.

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