Roberto Firmino is not the Roberto Firmino of last season.
Yes, he has been asked to play different roles; sometimes deeper, sometimes as a no.9 – but regardless – he’s offering the side far less both on and off the ball.
Last night against PSG he was fairly anonymous and got pulled for Daniel Sturridge in the second-half.
Bobby became infamous for his ferocious pressing at the front, but with Jurgen Klopp’s side playing less energetically this term, it seems to have stifled our Brazilian.
Journalist Jonathan Northcroft suggested his performance demonstrates a problem for the side right now.
Thought Liverpool had three problems last night.
– selection: that midfield 3 lacks balance and why mess with Gomez + VVD axis in a big game?
– Firmino. Key to the attacking system yet off his best. Again. Does he need a rest?*
– PSG were good, especially Marquinos and T Silva
— Jonathan Northcroft (@JNorthcroft) November 29, 2018
And interestingly, Anfield Index’s Simon Brundish made his own comments – declaring the focus should not be on Jordan Henderson all the time but the decline of Firmino – the player our entire system is based around.
Henderson or Fabinho seems to have distracted people from the fact that our system is designed for and around Bobby Firmino.
Getting him to play like Bobby Firmino is the key to the season not Hendo’s sideways passes
— SimonBrundish (@SimonBrundish) November 29, 2018
It’s not a ridiculous point. In 18 games this season, Firmino has scored five times and assisted two goals – but his overall creative output is lacking. He loses the ball too regularly and isn’t linking up with Mo Salah.
How will Jurgen Klopp get him going again?