Roberto Firmino’s season ended in disappointment with the Champions League final loss to Real Madrid, but he’s been absolutely outstanding in 2017-18.
Operating as a central striker, the skilful attacker scored a superb 27 goals and provided 17 assists for Liverpool in all competitions this term.
Firmino’s attention has now turned to the World Cup in Russia, where Brazil will play their first match against Switzerland on June 17.
Manager Tite has a star-studded squad to choose from and one of his biggest decisions ahead of the tournament is who will line up as Brazil’s main centre-forward.
After Brazil’s 2-0 win over Croatia at Anfield on Sunday, in which Firmino scored, he responded to the claims that Gabriel Jesus will start instead of him.
BOBBY SCORES FOR BRAZIL AT ANFIELD
Firmino began the friendly against the Croats on the bench but replaced Jesus on the hour-mark and, understandably, received a huge ovation.
Neymar put the Brazilians ahead nine minutes after Firmino’s introduction with a fine solo effort and the Liverpool man sealed the win in stoppage time.
Bobby chested down a lovely pass from Casemiro before fighting off an opposition defender and brilliantly looping the ball over Danijel Subasic.
FIRMINO OR JESUS: WHO STARTS?
Despite Firmino’s excellent campaign, the general consensus is that Tite will probably still opt for Manchester City’s Jesus ahead of him at the World Cup.
Firmino scored just once from six appearances (three starts) during Brazil’s qualifying campaign, whereas 21-year-old Jesus netted seven times in ten games.
After coming on for Jesus and bagging a goal for his country at his club home, Firmino addressed the situation with himself and the Man City man with typical class.
WHAT FIRMINO SAID ABOUT HIM V JESUS
Speaking post-match, Liverpool’s 26-year-old told SporTV, via Goal: “I’m here to help Selecao (the Brazil national team).
“Whatever Tite chooses (between me and Jesus), I’ll respect 100% and I’m here for (the team) when needed, to give my best for the team.”
It’s a classy response from Firmino, but many football fans who watched Brazil 2-0 Croatia are now convinced that he should be the first-choice number nine.
His link-up play with the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Neymar offer a different threat to Jesus’ pace and movement, but only time will tell what Tite decides to do.