With all the attention that’s been paid to Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho this season, one Liverpool player has gone under the radar.
Roberto Firmino has defied the notion that Liverpool are in need of an out-and-out number nine, scoring 17 goals in all competitions and helping Jurgen Klopp’s side reach the knockout stage of the Champions League.
Jamie Carragher recently admitted that the Brazilian was “the first name on the teamsheet” Klopp lavished praise on him when he spoke to the media on Friday.
“He’s a fantastic football player,” the German said, per the Liverpool Echo.
“You see him in training and think ‘what a work ethic! What an attitude!” and he brings that on the pitch as well. He never rests! You have to tell him ‘come on, stop, sit here, calm!”
FIRMINO’S PERFORMANCES HAVE BEEN ANALYSED
It’s only when you study Firmino’s game closely do you realise just how important a player he is for Liverpool.
YouTuber Nouman has created a superb video that analyses Firmino’s performance.
Nouman refers to the 26-year-old as the ‘Premier League’s most underrated player’, and he perhaps has a point.
The video, which you can watch below, explores Firmino’s wonderful movement, which includes dropping deep to create space for Salah and Sadio Mane.
The example shown is from Mane’s goal against Arsenal in the 4-0 win against Arsenal in August. Firmino collected the ball deep and forced the defender to decide whether to close him down or follow Mane.
In the end the defender did neither, and Mane went on to score a fine goal.
Firmino also does an excellent job of finding space inside the area. He isn’t considered by many to be a natural striker but he certainly knows which positions to be in.
What also stands out is his work rate. Firmino closes down defenders and tracks back to help his own defence, both of which are requirements in Klopp’s system.
Watch Nouman’s brilliant video below.
With Coutinho completing his move to Barcelona earlier in the month, it’s crucial that Firmino maintains his high level of performance.
The Brazil international admitted that he would miss Coutinho at Anfield but there’s now a great opportunity for him to become a hero at the club.