Sylvinho, the former Arsenal left-back who now works with Tite for the Brazilian national team, has explained why Roberto Firmino is such a world-class attacker.
Firmino’s well-publicised struggles in front of goal in 2019/20 were used as a stick to beat him by rival fans, but they only tell a small part of his story in every game.
The fact Liverpool swept all before them in the Premier League with Firmino leading the line is testament to his importance – and you can absolutely guarantee Mo Salah and Sadio Mane wouldn’t have scored nearly as many goals without his presence.
“When I started working with Brazil, Tite [the coach] sent me to watch Firmino at Burnley and he was incredible,” Sylvinho told the Guardian.
“You see him play [on TV] and think: ‘Yeah, he’s very good.’ But at the ground? Wow. He does so much. I left there enamoured. The ball’s on the other side and you see him move, the generosity with which he links teammates, how he never lost the ball – that’s incredibly hard in the Premier League. If you say ‘I want 40 goals’, maybe he’s not that striker but if you want someone complete, who generates spaces, goes outside, inside, buah! Brilliant.”
And if Sylvinho’s comments on Firmino are not evidence enough of his brilliance, just consider the fact Jurgen Klopp, the world’s best coach, deploys him in every match and hasn’t once tried to replace him in five years at Liverpool.
He could finish slightly more of his chances, but if he started hitting 30 a season on top of the work he does off the ball, we’d be talking about a genuine Ballon d’Or contender.
Keep up the good work, Bobby!