All eyes on Neymar's fitness as Brazil faces Croatia

With two weeks to go for the World Cup, Tite is unlikely to take any unnecessary risks regarding Neymar's fitness.

Fernandinho: Neymar has not had a good injury and it takes time to recover. But he's training well, he's feeling well.

Brazil will keep a close eye on the fitness of star striker Neymar when the World Cup contenders face Croatia in a friendly at Anfield on Sunday.

Neymar, who scored four goals in the 2014 World Cup, has not played any form of football since February after breaking his foot.

While the 26-year-old Paris Saint Germain ace sat out training on Thursday as a precaution, his Brazil team-mate Fernandinho has given a positive assessment of Neymar's condition just two weeks before the start of the World Cup.

“By the movements and dribbles he has been doing in training, he has shown he is well. He is confident which is important, he shows that he isn't scared of our defenders as he takes them on without fear. This is the first steps to getting his confidence back to 100 per cent for the World Cup. We also support his recovery because without a doubt he will be the difference for our team,” said the Manchester City midfielder.

“I've been in his position when I was younger, being injured isn't easy even when getting back from injury doing daily workouts even when the bone is still hurting is still difficult. Neymar is ready. He is fit. He's not had a good injury and it takes time to recover. But he's training well, he's feeling well,” he added.

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Neymar could play some part as a substitute at Anfield, but Selecao boss Tite is unlikely to take any unnecessary risks, with their opening World Cup fixture against Switzerland looming on June 17.

That said Neymar must surely have some game-time, with a friendly against Austria in Vienna on June 10 serving as Brazil's other warm-up fixture.

Brazil, five-time world champions, have spent the week training at Tottenham ahead of their opening World Cup warm-up fixture.

'Countinho returns to Anfield'

The match against Croatia gives the Liverpool fans the opportunity to see their former star Philippe Coutinho, who left Liverpool for Barcelona in January. His international colleague and current Liverpool player Roberto Firmino will also be hoping to feature on his club ground.

It is uncertain what kind of reception Coutinho will receive, with Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish this week requesting the “boo boys” to stay away from the match.

Also read: Cuper optimistic 'weapon' Salah will be fit for World Cup

Fernandinho believes that it will be an honour for him to return to Anfield. “We haven't had that conversation about Philippe returning to Anfield. But I believe he's happy because he spent a couple years at Liverpool, had some fantastic games where his performances managed to take him to Barcelona and the Brazilian national team,” he added.

Brazil have an injury doubt over Renato Augusto and he is likely to miss Sunday's fixture due to a right knee issue. But Brazil's squad has had a relaxed feel to it this week ahead of the more serious work.

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