Times never seem to be easy for those on the red side of Merseyside. After struggling to build any real momentum or consistency, Liverpool have seen themselves slip to eighth position in the Barclay’s Premier League. However perhaps there is something, or someone to shout about from the Liverpool faithful; Roberto Firmino has started to show the potential which secured him a £29 million pound move from German side Hoffenheim. Jürgen Klopp has publicly admired Firmino, stating, ‘he was the best player in Bundsliga’ during a season whilst he was in charge of former German champions Borussia Dortmund and his kind words appear to be starting to pay off.
It would be fair to suggest that the 24-year-old has come under some criticism from the Liverpool supporters for some of his lacklustre performances since joining the club last summer. Klopp has persisted with him, keeping him in side when others have been left out, and this tactic appears to be starting to see it’s rewards.
Firmino showed glimpses of brilliance during earlier games this season, in particular against Manchester City, playing a star role in his sides 4-1 victory over Pellegrini’s men. Since then his form has been questioned by his peers and supporters, with many considering him to have been under performing for the 18-time league champions.
However in Liverpool’s last two league games against Arsenal and Manchester United respectively, the forward has been influential in both games, scoring and creating against the Gunners, whilst being the major threat in Liverpool’s itinerary against Manchester United. On top of this, and importantly for Klopp, is Firmino’s constant high pressing and intelligent movement, something which he has demonstrated more of recently. This has been stretching opposition defences whilst creating extra space for the rest of the team, causing the opposition defence problems.
Importantly for Klopp is Firmino’s constant high pressing and intelligent movement, something which he has demonstrated more of recently.
The issue for Klopp has been creating consistency within the rest of his team, in particular his front three when it comes to goals. The German has switched personnel and positioning a number of times, trying to improve results due to the lack of goals in his team. Despite the team not scoring enough goals, Liverpool have created more chances than any other side in the division. Firmino has been moving across the front three, enabling more fluidity and influence from his team-mates.
In the 1-0 loss against Manchester United, the forward played a central role, occupying the two centre backs whilst dropping deep to collect the ball and open up space in central areas. Firmino has also played on the left and right of the three, showing different variations to his game and this versatility is something that Klopp has been a big supporter of.
The issue has been goals for the Firmino, finding the net just three times so far this season but with his confidence improving Klopp will be hopeful the goals will come for the forward. With Daniel Sturridge still unable to get match fit and Christian Benteke struggling for form, Roberto Firmino will be seen as the one to get the goals for the reds, something he hasn’t yet been able to provide consistently. Despite this and Liverpool’s search for more goals and improved results, the Brazilian may prove to be the shining light at Anfield.