Neymar eyeing return to action from bench as Brazil take on Croatia at Anfield

Neymar will make his return from injury as a second-half substitute for Brazil when they play Croatia on Sunday, coach Tite has confirmed.

The Paris St Germain forward, the world’s most expensive player, has been out injured since February 25 when he fractured a metatarsal and sprained his ankle in a Ligue 1 match against Marseille.

Tite revealed his starting line-up for the friendly at Anfield on Sunday in his pre-match press conference on Saturday evening and said that Neymar, who underwent surgery on his injury, would be involved – but from the bench.

“He will be on the bench because he is in the process of recovery and will play in the second half because this is a match to prepare the whole team,” said Tite.

“He will come on at half-time. Whom he replaces, I don’t know, but that is the idea. He has to have a leading role, but the others have to have leading roles as well.”

Tite said his team against Croatia would be Alisson in goal behind Danilo, Thiago Silva, Miranda and Marcelo. A midfield trio of Casemiro, Paulinho and Fernandinho would play in front of the defence with a front three of Philippe Coutinho – making his first return to Liverpool since leaving for Barcelona this season – Gabriel Jesus and Willian.

Asked whether that would be his starting line-up if the World Cup began tomorrow, Tite replied “Yes” three times.

He added: “At this moment they are the best and we have to work with the current moment.”

That would see Thiago Silva get his place back in the side at the expense of Paris St Germain team-mate Marquinhos.

Tite said: “It was very difficult to choose. When Marquinhos got injured a few months ago, Thiago stepped in and did great. Sometimes it pains my heart and I have to decide. It would be fair to have any of those three in the team.”

Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus will captain the team on Sunday.

“We will keep sharing (the captaincy) in the World Cup. But with athletes that are more experienced, they will be used more,” Tite said.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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