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Published on April 12th, 2018 | by BrazilStats

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Firmino v Gabriel Jesus – Tite’s tough choice to find Brazil’s number nine

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It’s a choice that most international managers would love to have with Tite having to decide between Firmino and Gabriel Jesus to lead the line for Brazil

Roberto Firmino is having a better season than Gabriel Jesus in European football, something that has been confirmed yet again as he played a key role in helping Liverpool overcome Manchester City to reach the semi-final phase of the Champions League. This means that Brazil boss Tite is set for a serious headache for the World Cup in Russia, when he will have to pick one of the two to lead the line for Brazil.

While it is likely that Tite will retain Gabriel Jesus in the starting lineup based on his very successful stint with the national team so far, the form of Roberto Firmino cannot be ignored. Brazilian fans are starting to ask what should the Liverpool-man do, in order to get a real chance for Brazil? So far, his appearances have mostly been second-half cameos. So how can we know whether he would out-perform Gabriel?

Firmino is the modern central attacker, capable of working hard both on and off the ball. With his high-pressure and ability to recover possession in the final third, he orchestrates Liverpool’s fast-transition from the defense phase to offense. A great example of that, is perhaps his goal against City from Tuesday, as he forced Kyle Walker to commit the mistake and give away possession, before using his finesse to place the ball at the back of the net, beating Ederson.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Jesus remains a very good option and is arguably a better finisher than Firmino. His aggressive style of play, ability to anticipate danger and make runs behind back of defenders to place himself at the ideal position in order to be on the receiving end of the tap-ins, make him an excellent fit in Tite’s tactical scheme. The Brazil boss can hardly go wrong with either one of his options for the number nine role, to be fair.

To put it this way, most people believe that Firmino is a better overall footballer than Jesus, whereas the majority is also convinced that Gabriel is a very good fit at the national team, although his form during the FIFA date was not impressive, to say the least. Which has led to clear criticism, raising the voices of the ones asking for more game-time to Roberto. The idea of playing the two of them at a time, seems unlikely, and will certainly not happen right from kickoff. Brazil would have be to be trailing and desperate for an equalizer before there is a genuine possibility of such a move.

Liverpool have been brilliant in European football this season and have already scored more goals in one campaign, than an English side has ever done throughout the competition’s history. And there is no doubt that Firmino is one of the essential reasons for this big success. With the attacking trio that he forms with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané, there is no limit as to how far Liverpool can go in Europe this season. Whether that is enough to start for Brazil remains to be seen. 

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