Jurgen Klopp thinks the exit of Coutinho has made it easier for the football media to notice how brilliant Roberto Firmino is.
Our former no.10 was easily the most lauded of the Brazilians before his exit, but fans knew Bobby was just as important.
Since Coutinho’s £142m sale to Barca, Firmino has been exceptional, especially on Sunday against Southampton where his goal and assist performance earned him an individual section on Monday Night Football by Thierry Henry.
According to Klopp, Firmino is no longer underrated, but the manager assured supporters that he’s always appreciated the 26-year-old!
“When I came in I said immediately that I was happy Roberto was here,” Klopp said.
“I don’t think he has stepped up recently but maybe it is more obvious because his situations are not overshadowed by Phil Coutinho’s situations. That’s how it is.
“He’s a very important player and he doesn’t always have to be the standout player. As often as he can be, that’s good.
“Is he underrated? I don’t think so, not anymore. I don’t know what other people think about Roberto Firmino. But people with a football brain judge him right.”
Firmino already has 20 goals this season, which is more than Romelu Lukaku, Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Jesus and Alvara Morata – ‘the proper strikers’ available to our rivals.
We truthfully wouldn’t swap Bobby for any of them.
Along with Mo Salah, he’s our most important player and we only hope the club can secure him to a long-term contract soon.