This is mighty interesting for us.
It answers a lot of questions Liverpool fans have regarding why Jurgen Klopp often chooses to deploy natural attacking midfielder Roberto Firmino as our centre-forward when he has the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Danny Ings as options.
More than that, it suggests the Brazilian will be our starting striker in big matches throughout 2016/17, over the Englishmen or the Belgian hotshot.
ESPN pundit Stewart Robson told his colleagues of a conversation he had with Liverpool’s analyst, who we believe to be Mark Leyland – who’s named on the official website as our First-team post-match analyst, during our 4-0 with Barcelona – when Firmino started up top….
Here’s what Robson told ESPN.
“I was at the Liverpool v Barcelona game, and I spoke to their analyst, who was sitting next to me, and he was giving information down to Klopp throughout the game, so and I asked what are you looking for in your forwards?
“He said: The reason Firmino plays up front is because he’s the best closer down of the ball. Everything revolves around what we do when the opposition have the ball. We either play a total press, which Firmino is in the side to do – because he starts it off and everyone goes with him – Or we work out who’s the worst defender for the opposition and try to get the ball to him and then close him down.”
This perhaps explains why during some matches we don’t see the frenetic total press we’ve become accustomed to under Klopp, and why we never understand why…
In fact, it seems the attackers are obeying direct instructions to block off passes to certain players so as to isolate the opposition’s worst ball-playing defender – so we can attack him individually.
Early on during the Arsenal clash, we didn’t press chaotically, so we assume that we were perhaps encouraging Arsenal to pass the ball to Rob Holding – their inexperienced centre-back making a debut.
Firmino didn’t score on Sunday, but we thought he was simply brilliant, especially in the second-half. He manipulates space expertly and can hold on to the ball in any situation. He doesn’t play quickly, but makes himself time through his technique and finds a way of delivering the correct ball. Tactically, he’s perfect for Klopp – but has the creative genius to consistently generate goals and assists, too.
Providing the team is winning, we’re happy for the 24-year-old to continue up top, even if that means Sturridge on the bench.