"He doesn't construct like Marcelo because no one constructs like Marcelo, but he was very good", he said. "When I saw the ball hit the net I only thought of those that helped me, Dr. Lasmar, my family, friends".
Neymar, who had been out injured since breaking his foot in February, was introduced at the start of the second half.
And Neymar needed just 23 minutes to prove how important he is to Brazil's hopes of a sixth world title.
Brazil, in their first visit to Merseyside since 1995, started on the front foot but nearly fell behind 14 minutes in when Liverpool's Dejan Lovren headed a corner inches wide.
Tite wasn't getting carried away, though.
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Despite having the likes of Modric, Ante Rebic, Ivan Perisic and Andrej Kramaric in their attacking positions against Brazil, Croatia never truly looked like troubling Alisson aside from a couple easy saves. "Not as much as a wide player, he's better though the middle". Brazil "improved in the second half after Neymar made the difference".
Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus will instead get the first chance to shine in the battle to claim Brazil's hotly contested centre-forward spot.
The same Liverpool supporters who cheered Firmino went out of their way to jeer Coutinho, who left the Reds for Barcelona earlier this year.
It was a moment of high quality largely out of keeping with a drab game and lifted Brazil, whose passing found an extra gear in the aftermath.
Brazil, who became the first team to qualify for the World Cup in March, face Austria next Sunday before starting their Group E campaign against Switzerland on 17 June. "If I were the manager there, I would try to sign him too".