By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Roberto Firmino has joined Alberto Moreno on the Liverpool casualty list ahead of Sunday’s Premier League trip to Southampton.
The Brazilian Football Association revealed on Saturday evening that the Anfield playmaker had been pulled out of the Brazil squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Firmino is now almost certainly out of Liverpool’s trip to St Mary’s Stadium as they attempt to secure a fourth consecutive Premier League win.
It is a major blow for Jurgen Klopp, who has selected Firmino to start all of Liverpool’s Premier League and Europa League matches since the turn of the year and he has responded with a series of goals and assists to lift him to the top of the club’s scoring charts this season with nine goals.
Klopp is already likely to be without left-back Alberto Moreno, who suffered a hamstring injury on the eve of the 1-1 draw against Manchester United on Thursday and is regarded as doubtful for the Southampton match.
Firmino was replaced after 85 minutes at Old Trafford but that appeared to be a tactical late change from Klopp as Liverpool preserved their aggregate lead.
The 24-year-old was not originally selected in the Brazil squad but was given a call-up after a withdrawal.
However, the Benfica player Jonas has now been called up to replace Firmino.
At first it was thought the injury was not serious with some translations suggestions “bruising” but it has now been suggested the word used is simply a synonym for “injury”, so the exact nature of it remains unknown.
The statement on the Brazil FA website said: “The striker Jonas, of Benfica, is summoned for the matches against Uruguay (March 25, at the Arena Pernambuco) and Paraguay (March 29, in the Defensores del Chaco in Asunción).
“Jonas is listed in place of Roberto Firmino.”
In other Liverpool injury news, supporters reacted on Twitter to Martin Skrtel’s sending-off for the Under-21s following his lengthy lay-off.