Roberto Firmino has taken the Premier League by shock. His outstanding performances, the ability to find his teammates in the most difficult situations, his vision in tight spaces, the unbelievable pressing for the full 90 minutes, as well as his unstoppable engine, and defensive traits, are just a few of the things that make him the complete striker and the perfect commander for Liverpool’s attack. Some may say he is a combination of three players in one, a defensive midfielder, a No. 10, and a clinical forward.
Although, he has been going under the radar in the past, LFC Transfer Room’s very own Dann A’ (@DannLFCTR) takes a look at the Liverpool star-man alongside Brazil football expert (@BrazilStat), to highlight the contribution of the young striker to the Anfield side, as well as taking a look at multiple controversial topics regarding Brazil players, future stars, links, and much more.
What is your opinion on Roberto Firmino’s development and improvement since his time at Hoffenheim to his time at Liverpool?
Firmino has grown in terms of maturity and tactical awareness, which is expected after playing his trade under the guidance of a modern manager like Jurgen Klopp, in a harder league like England’s. Today, he might be less flashy than he was in Germany, but he is certainly much more complete, physically stronger, and most importantly, more effective on all levels.
Who do you think should be a starter in the Brazil national team, Firmino or Grabriel Jesus?
Knowing Tite and Brazilian managers, at this moment it seems likelier that Gabriel Jesus will get the tip, come the World Cup debut against Switzerland on June 17. It is difficult to see him getting dropped following his very impressive start with the national team. At the same time, it cannot be denied that Roberto Firmino is a better overall footballer and is having a much better season by all means. Judging from Adenor Bacchi’s recent comments, it is almost certain that the Liverpool-man will get plenty of game-time, with a tactical setup including both strikers at a time, not being ruled out yet.
Is Firmino as important to Brazil as he is to Liverpool?
In this moment, it is certain that Firmino is considered more vital for Liverpool than he is for Brazil. But this is mainly down to the fact that he has not had a run of games to prove himself under Tite’s command. Whenever he performed well, as was the case against Uruguay and Paraguay in the qualifiers, his good-run would be disrupted by Gabriel Jesus’s return from injury. So without continuity, it is really hard, and perhaps unfair, for a player to convince the fans.
What is your take on the Jorginho to Liveprool rumor? Being that he has a double nationality both Brazilian and Italian.
Jorginho is certainly technically better than any current Liverpool midfielder. His passing range is arguably the best in the Italian league in the past few months. However, the tempo is relatively lower in Italy, which allows him more time on the ball, and less defensive duties. It’s a bit like Lucas Leiva’s case, who would not have been able to show the same level in his current physical conditions, had he stayed in England. On the bright side, Jorginho is a very intelligent player, his tactical awareness could be a key factor in helping him adapt to life in EPL. Overall, I always say that investing in midfielders who possess good technique and vision is always worth it for a side like Liverpool, where money is not a problem. In the worst-case scenario, he would probably be an utility squad player who helps unlock deep-lying defenses. He is for example a big upgrade in terms of vertical passing, than Henderson who is the king of side-back passes. The club needs a deep-lying midfielder with the Italian’s profile.
Coutinho’s departure was certainly a huge topic in the club. Do you think his departure was good or bad for Liverpool? What impact did it had on Firmino?
If a player wants to leave and is no-longer ready to dedicate himself for the club, then it is always the right decision to let him go, especially when the fee matches Liverpool’s demands. With the arrivals of Van Dijk and Naby Keita, the team will automatically be more balanced. And with rumors confirming that Klopp intends to add technicality to midfield, it seems that Liverpool will almost certainly improve. So far, it doesn’t seem that Coutinho’s absence has been a huge blow, at least not in terms of recent performances. So imagine when the rest of the targets join the team, things will be even better than they are now. Roberto Firmino has taken full advantage of Philippe’s departure to step up, as the stats prove. The same can be said about Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah who have been worthy of the responsibility that they have been given.
What is your opinion on Alisson Becker being strongly linked with Liverpool? Would you say he is needed? And what effect will it have if Klopp decided to bring the current Roma man to Anfield?
Alisson is arguably the best goalkeeper in the Italian league this season, and is having an excellent campaign in the UEFA Champions League. He is not just a good shot-stopper who rarely commits blunder, but he also has a tendency to produce spectacular saves in big games, such as against Internazionale, Atlético Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk. It is worth noting that the 25-year old is an intelligent reader of the game and capable of using his feet in order to break the high lines of pressure and allow Liverpool to maintain possession rather than randomly clearing the ball out of play. The only disadvantage of his transfer to Liverpool would quite possibly be the transfer fee. Other than that, he is in theory, a direct upgrade over both Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius.
Lucas Leiva’s departure was a hard decision for both manager and fans, as he was the longest servant the club had. Do you think it was the right call to move on?
Lucas Leiva’s departure was the right step for both parties. He did not have the required level to constantly perform in a demanding, physical league with the high tempo of England’s. Meanwhile in Italy, it appears that he is enjoying his football once again, with more time on the ball and more freedom to put his passing-range into good use. Lucas and the Serie A are like a match in heaven.
Is there any preferred Brazilian player you wished Liverpool would sign?
I would have liked to see AS Monaco midfielder Fabinho ply his trade under the tutelage of Jurgen Klopp. Mainly because I believe that he is made to play in England, and Liverpool would be the best team for his development. The 24-year old is physically strong, a good tackler, has a decent passing-range and possesses a technique that allows him to drive the ball forward whenever necessary. He would certainly improve on his current weaknesses by working with the German tactician.
What is your take on Allan de Souza. Do you think he has a future at Liverpool?
Allan has never really played first team football in Brazil, but he was usually impressive for Inter in youth tournaments. Judging by his few highlights since his transfer to Europe, he seems to be technically gifted but hasn’t shown enough consistency when he got his chance at Hertha Berlin. I believe it is still very early to make a strict conclusion as to whether he’s got what it takes to succeed at Anfield. But if I had to make a prediction now, I don’t see him becoming a very important player at the club.
The link of Luan from Gremio to Liverpool has diminished recently, after some strong months of the Brazilian being linked with a move to Merseyside. If he was to move, do you think he will fit in LFC, or in the Premier League overall?
Luan is technically brilliant and even draws a couple of similarities with Roberto Firmino, minus his work-rate, physicality and end-product. The essential problem with Luan is his lack of pace, and his lack of mobility that would certainly make him easy to mark in England. I do not see him ready to be a star in the EPL, and I think that the decision to not pursue his services was spot on by Liverpool’s scouts.
What aspects should Roberto Firmino improve on?
Firmino is obviously getting better and better every season, but it is never harmful that he tempts his luck by trying to become a free-kick specialist. His long-range shooting used to be one of his strong points, but he doesn’t use it as often in recent times. Another obvious question mark is his ability to score from penalties. A clinical striker must work on being able to score from any situation. It would also be helpful if he works on his long-range passing, on switching play from one side to the other. He is not a turtle but he is not ‘speedy Gonzalez’ either, so I would say that there are faster strikers out there. However, he is initially an attacking midfielder who has perfectly adapted to his new role as a nine, which explains why he is technically superior to most strikers.
Where do you see Firmino in 3..5 years?
In today’s market, everything is possible. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to predict what will happen. But as long as Klopp is still at the club, I see Firmino enjoying his football as well as the attention that he is getting from Anfield fans. His somehow shy character and lack of interest in being the main figure of the team, could be a positive that prevents the media from drawing extra attention on him, which consequently makes him a less likely target for, say, Real Madrid – although one could argue that he is a direct improvement over Karim Benzema, based on the evidence of the last 15 months.
Roberto Firmino is on the form of his life, with 22 goals and 13 assists so far, and with plenty of games left in the Premier League as well as the Champions League depending on Liverpool’s performance in the tournament. Considering the role he is playing, that is something really impressive. Those incredible remarks have been the center of attention in England, and sooner rather than later, other European giants will come knocking on Liverpool’s door in search of the prolific striker.
Article written by: Dann A. (@DannLFCTR)