Liverpool forwards Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have not been playing well over the last few weeks.
In truth, they haven’t really looked themselves on a consistent basis since the tail end of last season, before the Premier League title was wrapped up.
Pundits, journalists and Liverpool fans alike have been theorising as to what has caused this dip in form from what was until very recently the best attacking trio in the world.
Of course, there exists a possibility there isn’t anything wrong and Salah, Mane and Firmino could simply click back into gear next week.
But there is another possibility – as pointed out by Daniel Storey on The Athletic’s Totally Football Show podcast, our No.9 has been underperforming for some time now on the goal-scoring front.
As we all know, Firmino’s main responsibility is to provide opportunities and space for team-mates Salah and Mane to attack – but that hasn’t been working either lately.
Storey says he’s “lost a bit of faith with Firmino. He’s not a natural finisher, but he seems to have lost all creativity as well. If he’s not quite on it, Mane and Salah suffer.”
What he’s saying is spot-on; the way Liverpool play relies heavily on Firmino dropping top performances in the false-nine role, and we don’t have Diogo Jota to recall from the bench right now for a change of tact.
The solution? We have to play in a way which helps the Brazilian do his thing, and Thiago cold play a huge role in that, pulling the strings in midfield and playing lofted balls over the top – not everything centrally will have to run through Bobby.
With the Spaniard now fit and firing and Jota not too far behind him, we should hopefully see a return to form for our forwards soon.