Sunday, December 9, 2018

Roberto Firmino is so underrated

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 27 Dec 2017

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The media lavish praise on Liverpool’s attacking players and rightly so, as the Reds have been outstanding going forward this season. Usually, the bulk of the praise tends to focus on Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho or Egyptian international Mohamed Salah.

Coutinho’s skill and vision deserve praise, as the diminutive playmaker can be a joy to watch for Reds fans and neutrals. Salah’s pace and movement also deserve praise. The former Chelsea star also deserves accolades for his displays this season.

Even former Southampton star Sadio Mane gets a lot of praise for his ability to frighten the life out of defenders with his electric pace and power.

However, one man consistently produces for Liverpool and almost goes under the radar is Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino. The former Hoffenheim star has been superb in recent games and is vital in the so-called ‘Fab Four’.

Firmino impressed again in Liverpool’s 5-0 Boxing day mauling of Swansea at Anfield, scoring a brace against the hapless Welsh visitors.

Scores and creates goals

I remember writing an article a few weeks ago about how Mo Salah scores and creates goals for the Reds. Firmino does the same for the Merseysiders and his contribution is often overlooked.

This season Firmino has scored nine goals and produced five assists. Considering the fact that boss Klopp likes to rotate his squad, while also keeping the forward fresh by substituting him relatively early in the game those are good numbers.

Last season he only scored 11 goals and 7 assists, which is his best scoring return since his move to Merseyside. We are just past the midway point of the season and he only needs two more goals to better that best ever Premier League goal tally.

Firmino is very much a team player

There is a definite improvement this season in his all-around play. However, Firmino has always been selfless in the way he plays. The 26-year-old will work his socks off for the team, which is why Klopp rates him so highly.

He does not always go for glory and that may be why his goal tally has been relatively low at Liverpool. Firmino is not an out-and-out striker. He is versatile enough to play the role, though.

In the current Liverpool team, he can play as a false number nine or rotate with his attacking teammates, as he has the football intelligence to do so. Boss Jurgen Klopp was a big fan of Firmino from the pair’s days on opposite sides in the German Bundesliga. Both stated their admiration for each other on Klopp’s arrival on Merseyside.

I am sure the admiration for each other has only grown in the past few years of working together. However, the Reds boss may regret leaving the star out of his starting line-up for games against Everton and Chelsea, though.

Unless the Liverpool boss is resting the star, I am sure he will be one of the first names on the teamsheet in months and years to come.

Helping Liverpool to a Champions League spot

As well as Roberto Firmino and his attacking colleagues are doing, his defensive teammates tend to let the Reds down big style when it matters.

However, the Merseysiders are currently fourth place in the table, a point clear of nearest challengers Tottenham. The Reds aim at the start of the season will have been to win the Premier League title.

I think it is fair to say that Manchester City have all but sealed the title for this season. With City, city rivals Manchester United and Chelsea in strong positions in the table, Liverpool are the favourites from the chasing pack to seal a Champions League spot at 8/15.

If Liverpool does clinch a Champions League spot, then they will have a lot to thank their unassuming number nine for. Underrated outside the club, outsiders are starting to see what Firmino really brings to Klopp’s Liverpool team.

Firmino has now contributed four goals and two assists in his last three Premier League appearances. The forward is bang in form and there is no sign that the skilful Brazilian’s form is likely to abate anytime soon, which can only be good news for the Reds.

Is Roberto Firmino underrated?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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