Liverpool F.C. manager Brendan Rodgers is shocked by Dunga’s decision to omit midfielder Philippe Coutinho from the latest Brazil squad.
Coutinho, who joined the Reds from Italian Serie A side Internazionale Milano for a reported fee of £8.5 million in January 2013, has been left out of the Brazil squad ahead of next month’s friendlies against Costa Rica and the United States.
The Brazil international, Liverpool’s Players’ Player of the Year in 2014/15, tallied five goals and five assists in 35 English Premier League appearances for the Reds last season.
“Everything that I’d seen last season and the changes in the squad [indicated] that he was going to be one of the flagship players for the new dawn of Brazilian football,” said Rodgers.
“A young player who made the team of the season in the most competitive league in the world. How he cannot be in the squad is incredible really. I spoke to him at length on it. Of course he’s disappointed, but straight away his focus is on Liverpool. That was his thought.
“He’s a really humble boy and he’s a really proud man for his country. I’m sure he’ll pick up the form here he’s shown over the last 18 months and I’m sure it won’t be too long before he’s back in it.”
Coutinho scored the match-winner in the Reds’ Premier League opener at Stoke City last weekend and Rodgers believes the player still has room for improvement.
“It’s just consistency now and we’ve started to see that in his game,” added Rodgers. “He’s the type of player that his numbers will be important. It’s about creating goals and scoring goals. That’s the level he wants to get to and the level he’s working hard to obtain.
“Like you see last week, he’s a player that’s got that magic that can win you a game of football out of nothing, and you’ve seen that over time how he’s adapted to life at this level. For me he’s only going to get better and better and that’s something that he’s starting to really show.”
Liverpool are priced at 4/1 to achieve a top-4 finish in the Premier League in 2015/16.
Gayle turns down Bristol City
In other news, Crystal Palace forward Dwight Gayle has rejected a move to newly-promoted Sky Bet Championship side Bristol City.
According to reports, Palace accepted a £6 million bid, which could have risen to £8 million with add-ons, from Bristol City but Gayle is unwilling to move to Ashton Gate.
Since joining Palace from Peterborough United for a reported fee of £4.5 million in the summer of 2013, Gayle has scored 12 goals in 48 Premier League appearances for the South Norwood-based club.