If there’s one player who truly typifies Jurgen Klopp’s footballing philosophy, it’s Roberto Firmino – ironically signed months before his arrival by Brendan Rodgers and the transfer committee.
The Brazilian combines mesmeric technique with fantastic on-pitch intelligence and the work-rate of a midfield dynamite.
For a player just been awarded the no.9 though, he’s scored 23 goals in 90 Liverpool appearances – less than one in three.
Is that really good enough for the player expected to lead our line in 2017/18?
According to the boss – it’s absolutely fine.
“With Roberto Firmino, people say he does not score enough. What?!” Klopp told Goal.
“He is the best player without scoring with how well he reads the game for the benefit of others. Outstanding!
“But then what if he starts thinking ‘oh, I need more goals’ and starts shooting from all over the place when usually, he would play a clever ball and make a run to open up the space?
“There needs to be one plan, one voice, one belief. It will not always be perfect, because we are not perfect, but it is our way.”
When Liverpool purred at the beginning of 2016/17, Firmino’s pressing and movement from the front was often the catalyst, but the 25-year-old had to shift position when Coutinho picked up an injury and Sadio Mane went to the AFCON.
It was then that he became less effective – drifting in and out of games from the flanks.
With Mo Salah purchased though, it’s unlikely we’ll require Firmino to play out wide much and he’ll hopefully be allowed a full campaign in the false-9 spot.
And if he is struggling, we have a (currently) fully fit Daniel Sturridge waiting in the wings…
Not the worst of options.