What Gary Neville said about Firmino on MNF has needed to be said for a long time

Gary Neville may have been taught to hate Liverpool during his time as a Manchester United player, but as a pundit he has no problem lavishing praise on the Reds.

And who can blame him? Liverpool have been fantastic this season, especially since the turn of 2018, and there’s reason to believe they can challenge for the 2018/19 title.

Jurgen Klopp has been the mastermind behind his side’s form with his heavy metal approach while Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have been nigh-on unstoppable.

Between them they’ve scored 56 of Liverpool’s 80 goals in the Premier League, which is pretty remarkable.

Defensively the Anfield side have been much improved in recent times, too, thanks largely to the £75 million arrival of Virgil van Dijk in January.

It’s no surprise, then, that Neville has included no less than three Liverpool players in his Premier League Team of the Season:

David de Gea; Kyle Walker, Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen, Andrew Robertson; Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Raheem Sterling; Harry Kane, Roberto Firmino

Salah’s inclusion was inevitable following a sensational debut season at Liverpool that’s seen him score 31 league goals and guide them to the Champions League semi-finals.

As for Andrew Robertson, the Scottish full-back also moved to Merseyside last summer for just £8 million and has proved to be a huge bargain with his energy and consistency.

And then there’s Firmino, who is without a shadow of a doubt the most underrated and under-appreciated player in the Premier League.

He’s scored 15 Premier League goals and assisted a further seven this season, which is great, but it’s the Brazilian’s overall contribution that makes him so important to Liverpool.

Firmino’s intelligence, movement and work rate make him a one-of-a-kind striker and it’s high time he was shown the appreciation he deserves.

Well, that’s exactly what Neville did on Monday Night Football by paying Firmino one hell of a complement on live TV.

“Pep would want him at City,” said Neville. “Chelsea would want him, United would want him and Real Madrid would want him.

“He is Liverpool’s catalyst. Just as important as Salah this season.”

Not only does Neville think Firmino will be wanted by the biggest clubs in the world right now, but he firmly believes the 26-year-old is as important to Liverpool as Salah.

Finally the truth has been spoken – and it came from an ex-United player. Who would have thought it?

Firmino signed a new-long term contract with Liverpool on Sunday and it could be better business for the club than any signing this summer.