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Liverpool star Firmino breaks silence after being left out of Brazil’s World Cup squad

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Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has detailed his agony subsequent to being avoided with regard to Brazil’s 26-man crew for the World Cup in Qatar.

The 31-year-old was among those facing an excruciating wait tinged with uncertainty in the build up to Tite’s formal announcement on Monday but on this occasion, it did no go the way of Jurgen Klopp’s indispensable frontman.

Brazil have arguably the strongest squad on paper ahead of the mid-season tournament in Qatar and Firmino has fallen victim to the array of attacking quality at the Selecao’s disposal.

Antony, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Neymar, Pedro, Raphinha, Richarlison, Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr make up Tite’s star-studded options in attack – meaning there was no space for Firmino or former Liverpool team-mate Coutinho as Arsenal centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes also missed out in defence.

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Firmino, who previously represented and scored for Brazil at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, has now taken to Instagram to express his devastation at the decision, writing: “Passing by to say thank you for all the lovely messages. The World Cup is a dream for every player and with me it wouldn’t be any different.

“Yesterday things didn’t go the way I imagined or dreamed for my life but I can look back and have a grateful heart to God that he has already allowed me to live that dream as well as so many others. You, Lord, will keep in perfect peace him whose purpose is firm, because he trusts in you.

“(Isaiah 26:3) I take this opportunity here to pay my respect and congratulate all the summoned. It was, is, and will always be an honor to defend my country especially with the gift the Lord gave me. I stay here confident that God has the best for me and hoping that hexa comes.

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) #Jesusisenough.”

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Firmino started the campaign like a house on fire, netting six Premier League goals in his first seven outings for the Reds this season – including braces against Bournemouth and Brighton at Anfield.

His form in front of goal has since deteriorated but he has still scored (8) three more goals than Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus (5) and six more goals than Richarlison (2) this term in all competitions having also netted twice in a 7-0 Champions League win at Rangers.

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EPL

Cody Gakpo reflects on first month at Liverpool

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Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo has opened up on his first month on the books at Anfield, admitting he is still getting used to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics.

The Dutchman was wanted by a number of elite sides, with Manchester United expected to win the race for his signature, but it was Liverpool who snuck in and agreed to pay an initial £35m to bring Gakpo to England.

The 23-year-old, who made his name as a left winger but has spent time as a striker at Liverpool, is yet to score after four appearances for his new side, but he told club media that is it just a matter of getting to grips with his new surroundings

“My feeling, personally, is everyone in the team has so much quality,” he said. “That is what I see in training and in phases in the games.

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“It is also a part of football, that sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to. We just have to keep improving, working hard, and the quality will come out. Then, you’re going to see the real Liverpool.”

He continued: “From a football perspective, it’s a new environment on the pitch, with new players and a new team. I can tell it’s a really great group. Every day I am looking forward to working with them, to train hard and to play the games. I am trying to adapt as quickly as possible, to improve every day and in the end show the best version of myself.

“Off the pitch, to be honest, I haven’t been in the city so many times yet. Most of the time I have been in the hotel. I am moving this week, actually. That’s also something I’m looking forward to.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

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If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Gakpo also confessed that he is still trying to adapt to his new role in Liverpool’s team.

“It is a little bit different to what I’m used to,” the Dutchman admitted. “Normally, I have played on the left for almost the past three years.

“It’s something I can improve, playing in the striker role, and I want to show my quality there. It’s a great position and playing there makes me more complete as a technical player.

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Fulham launch bid Fluminense midfielder Andre

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Fulham have made a bid to sign Fluminense midfielder Andre, 90min understands.

The 21-year-old has quickly established himself as one of Fluminense’s top players and a number of sides across Europe have expressed an interest in luring him away from his homeland in 2023.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that Fulham have approached Fluminense to try and thrash out a deal, but the Brazilian side are reluctant to part ways with their star player during the 2023 campaign.

Andre, who has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool, has spoken out about the interest and insisted his focus remains solely on his current employers.

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“Obviously, I’m focused and very happy,” Andre said recently. “I just renewed my contract until 2026.

“It’s normal to get offers, but I’m focused here on Fluminense and having an excellent season.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Andre’s agent, Carlos Leite, also took to Instagram to confirm that the 21-year-old had agreed to remain with Fluminense until the end of the current campaign, which runs over the entire calendar year.

“Thanks to the great work carried out, Andre entered the radars of some of the biggest European clubs and, with that, he has received several enquiries and some official proposals,” Leite wrote.

“However, the player and Fluminense, through president Mario Bittencourt, sealed an agreement for the midfielder to remain at the club at this time, with all the dedication and commitment, always seeking the best for Fluminense in all competitions.”





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Sporting CP manager makes Pedro Porro admission as Tottenham talks continue

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Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim has warned Tottenham that he will not take right-back Pedro Porro out of his starting lineup until a transfer has been 100% agreed.

90min understands Tottenham are confident they will get a deal over the line for the 23-year-old eventually, but Sporting’s reluctance to budge from their asking price of Porro’s €45m release clause has led to some lengthy negotiations which are not yet over.

And while Porro is still contracted to Sporting, Amorim will not hesitate to use the right-back and risk an injury which could see the entire move collapse.

“Porro does not leave before the game,” Amorim said ahead of Saturday’s Allianz Cup final against Porto. “Clubs have to come first, and as far as I know, a player who is able to play and is signed up by a club, he has to go to games.

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“I realise that [negotiations] involve a lot of players’ minds, but the indication I have is that Porro is fit, and the most important thing for me, as a manager, is that if he wasn’t there, there would be someone else. The game cannot be played with just one player. Porro is fit. Whatever has to happen will happen, we are prepared for all scenarios.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Amorim continued: “Is this Porro’s last game at the club? I don’t know. There are a few days left until February 1, then everyone will know if Porro stays or leaves.

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“Porro hasn’t left yet. We are scouting, but not everything is easy, you’re in a real hurry to send Porro away!”

Spurs have repeatedly tried to lower Sporting’s asking price for Porro by including at least one player in the deal, but the Portuguese side have been clear about their determination to hold out for the right-back’s release clause – in full.





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