Liverpool duo Coutinho and Firmino may have to start on the bench in the Merseyside derby

Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino’s starting spots for the Merseyside derby are in question after being selected for Brazil’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Brazil face Uruguay in Montevideo on March 23, but it is their second fixture that will worry Reds boss Jürgen Klopp.

The Brazilian duo face Paraguay in a World Cup qualifier three days prior to Liverpool’s match against Everton at Anfield on Saturday, April 1.

The international clash kicks off at 12:45am and will finish around roughly 3:30am UK time on March 29.

Coutinho and Firmino will then have to rush back to Merseyside from Sao Paolo, taking a 6,000-mile flight. But they will not make it back in time for training later that day.

Key Reds duo facing race for fitness

Last time Liverpool faced this situation they shared the cost of a £120,000 private jet with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain to get their Brazilians back from Peru as quickly as possible ahead of their Premier League match-up at Southampton.

A similar deal is likely here and would bring Coutinho and Firmino back to Merseyside in time to report to Melwood on Thursday, March 30. But, again, they won’t train that day as they’ll be recovering from their match in Sao Paolo.

This means the pair - crucial to the Reds' front-line - will only have one day’s training with the squad before facing Everton - a game which could be key in the top-four race.

This leaves Klopp with a decision on where to place the Brazilians on his team sheet. Due to minimal training time, they might have to start the derby on the bench.

However, if injuries don't go Liverpool's way, leaving Coutinho and Firmino on the bench might not be an option.

Sadio Mané will also be on international duty with Senegal, but he is play closer to home so there won’t be any travel issues.

Mané faces Nigeria on March 23 and Ivory Coast on March 27, giving the winger plenty of time to return to training at Melwood.

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