The international break always comes at the worst time, doesn’t it? The Reds were just starting to find their mojo again after a superb performance at the Olympic Stadium, but the internationals have found a way to break up our momentum again.
Mohamed Salah will go into the break feeling on top of the world as he has been getting all the praise of late and it certainly has been warranted. He continued his superb form against West Ham United netting two goals just before the break came around, which takes his total tally in all competitions up to 12.
It isn’t a real surprise to see people discussing Liverpool’s Egyptian star when you see numbers as the above, but one mans impact tends to always go under the radar despite being a solid performer on a consistent basis.
That is our Brazilian number nine, Roberto Firmino. Football is one of them sports where the goal scorers always get the credit. They ultimately are the difference between winning and losing, but it frustrates me when the player that works his socks off never gets any of the praise.
When one watches Firmino, you could make a case he is arguably our most influential player. Is he as good as players such as Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Salah? On pure impact, he isn’t, but he brings something else to the table which brings out the best in everyone else.
If you go back and watch the replay of Firmino’s performance against West Ham, you will see a man playing for his team, not himself. The supporters claim we do need a more natural striker, but if you understand Jurgen Klopp’s way of playing and his system, it isn’t difficult to see why he prefers playing Firmino at the point of the attack.
As on display against The Hammers, he is the first line of the press. He hurries opposition defences into rushing their pass forward. What I love most about him more than anything is the way he tracks back. There are so many times when he is running after the opposition midfield to win the ball back and get the likes of Mane and Salah through on goal.
So much of his work is unseen by many. We live in a world where your striker has to be scoring anywhere between 20-30 goals a season. That would be great if we could get that return from Firmino, but the way he plays and his natural instincts don’t allow for it. He isn’t the best of finishes which does hurt him at times, but he isn’t awful.
He is so busy trying to play his other attacking options through on goal, so scoring himself is the last thing on his mind. We need to be careful in terms of the type of player we want Firmino to be.
He brings out the best in everyone else and that’s what we supporters need to understand. You cannot be superb at everything, but what he is superb at is very effective.
He’s a very fit player. There are games he rarely misses for Liverpool and I certainly don’t want to be misquoted here, but there are shades of Luis Suarez about him. He hunts the ball, has a goal and an assist in him. He’s obviously nowhere near as good as the former Liverpool forward, but he has similar attributes to Suarez as a player.
We have so many goal scoring options and with Salah giving us the return that he is currently on, do we need to remove Firmino from the point of the attack in the near future? Probably not.
Along with Firmino’s ability to play a certain way to fit Klopp’s system, he is a very good footballer overall. I feel this does get lost a bit when it comes to Firmino as he is much better than what people give him credit for.
At this stage of the season, he has six goals next to his name with three assists also. There’s no denying we will want to see that tally improve, but he makes up for the lack of difference on the score sheet with his ability to hunt the ball.
He is such an intelligent player in all areas of the game. He very much is a complete player and one that is only getting better for The Reds. He had a slow start to his career at Anfield, but has gradually found his feet under a manager who knows how to get the best out of him.
The better the understanding the supporters have when it comes to discussing Firmino’s role in the side the better the appreciation will be going into the future.