Roberto Firmino speaks on his strong relationship with Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino has admitted that he shares a fond relationship with Philippe Coutinho despite the latter leaving the Reds for Barcelona midway through last season. The 25-year-old spent five seasons at Anfield where he contributed 41 goals and 35 assists but the urge to join the Blaugrana was too hard to refuse.

Regardless of this, Firmino continues to share a good bond with his compatriot whilst playing for the Brazilian national side and he is looking forward to sharing the same dressing room during the upcoming World Cup in Russia. Speaking exclusively to Four Four Two, he said: “Everybody knows that Coutinho is a great footballer – here in England they call him ‘The Magician’. He made his decision to join Barcelona, but every time we play for the Seleção we have a chat and maintain that friendship. He's an exceptional guy – one of the best friends football has given me. I believe Brazil is enjoying a good uprising since Tite took over – everyone is playing good football.”

Brazil had a slow start to their World Cup qualifiers but the arrival of manager Tite sparked a revival which saw them become the first team to qualify for the global tournament. They also managed to top their qualification standings with a 10-point gap over second-placed Uruguay. As such, the Selecao are currently on a run of just one defeat in 21 matches and they are presently deemed as the favourites for the summer World Cup.

The South American nation have got somewhat of a tricky group with Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica pitted against them but based of their showing of late, they should comfortably make their progress into the round of 16 stage, where they are most probably expected to face one of Germany or Mexico. Brazil begin their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on June 17.