“He took it on the chin”

Liverpool superstar Virgil van Dijk has claimed that his club teammate Roberto Firmino should have received a Brazil call-up for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar this month.

Firmino, 31, has been a crucial first-team member of Jurgen Klopp’s squad over the past seven seasons. Despite his team’s woes in the ongoing 2022-23 season, he has impressed in front of goal, registering nine goals and four assists in 21 games across all competitions.

A technical operator blessed with flair and dribbling, the 55-cap Brazil international was snubbed from a place in the Selecao’s FIFA World Cup squad on Monday (November 7). He has failed to feature for his national team since the 2021 Copa America final loss to Argentina.

Speaking to The Independent, Van Dijk shared his thoughts on Firmino’s exclusion from Brazil’s 2022 FIFA World Cup squad. He said:

“I think Bobby should be in, but who am I to say that? He took it on the chin, all you can do is recover and be ready for the rest of the season and I think he will do that.”

Brazil manager Tite opted to hand call-ups to Neymar Jr., Vinicius Jr., Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison, Raphinha, Antony, Rodrygo, Gabriel Martinelli, and Pedro in the offensive department of his squad.

Two Liverpool players, namely Alisson Becker and Fabinho, have been included in the Selecao squad for the famous quadrennial tournament.

Heaping praise on Reds custodian Alisson, Van Dijk added:

“You shouldn’t take anyone for granted. We certainly never do that. He’s important for the group on and off the pitch. Brazil are a very good team, they have two of their best goalies in their squad and in my opinion, the the best goalie in the world is Alisson.”

Ranked first in the world, Brazil have been drawn in Group G alongside Serbia, Switzerland, and Cameroon. The five-time world champions are scheduled to open their tournament on Thursday (November 24).

Liverpool ace Virgil van Dijk lauds Darwin Nunez as “modern-day striker”

Speaking to The Independent, Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk lavished praise on summer signing Darwin Nunez for the way he has settled into his new environment at Anfield. He said:

“We never doubted his quality but obviously, when you have a price tag like that and the goals are not flowing like you want, it’s good [he has shown character] and I think he’s done very well. Obviously he has all the qualities for a modern-day striker.”

Nunez, who arrived from Benfica for an initial fee of £64 million in June, has been in fine form of late. He has registered nine goals and two assists in just 941 minutes of action this campaign for Liverpool.

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