Bobby Firmino captures the imagination of Liverpool fans (and football fans in general) every time he plays. A few comments on what we saw this weekend from the Brazilian, and why @sam0007ster believes he’s Liverpool’s most important player.
Newcastle were resolute and well in Saturday’s game
at 1-1 until Firmino replaced the injured Divock Origi in the 37th minute. For the remaining 53 minutes, however, Newcastle defenders were continually put on their backsides by the magical Brazilian.
Jetro Willems’ early strike had stunned Anfield and Liverpool lacked fluidity and a certain spark.
But in next to no time, Firmino went hunting. With his first real action of the afternoon, the forward robbed Christian Atsu in midfield and fed Sadio Mané to make it 2-1.
The second half was an exhibition in tricks, flicks and plenty of pragmatism to boot.
Firmino was on hand to loop a beautifully weighted ball into the path of Andy Robertson, who couldn’t quite poke the ball home.
The game was dead and buried soon, though, after an audacious moment of
invention and spatial awareness from, yes, that man again: Firmino. Salah
received the ball from Bobby and made no mistake, finishing from close range.
The Man of the Match award, quite rightly, belonged to the Brazilian
international — his second in a row.
He exudes class and has the work-rate to match. This Liverpool – without doubt the best Liverpool side in the Premier League era – are strangely reliant on this man.
It is quite a complement. Within the current crop, there is arguably a core
of five or six world-class footballers, but Firmino is heralded by many as ‘the system’.
It is a point Liverpool fans have made since Klopp took over because,
straight away, the German ensured there was always a space in the side for
It is a point that goes all the way back to Chelsea away in October 2015, at a time when Firmino was still relatively unknown. Klopp believed he should be the focal point in attack, even after Liverpool had dished out £32M on Christian Benteke.
The result? A 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge over Jose Mourinho’s defending champs.
It is a point which also re-emphasises why Liverpool fans cried out for him
to start the Champions League Final even after he spent weeks out with a muscle injury.
He was the game changer on Saturday, just like he was off the bench in the Super Cup last month. Think also of his impact off the bench away at Porto in Europe last term.
Liverpool are by no means the same side without him. The likes of Salah and Mane are by no means the same players without him.
Very recently, Van Dijk even recognised Liverpool’s No. 9 as the best player he has ever played with.
Two goals and three assists after five games represents an assured start, but the Dutchman will know what he contributes is not truly reflected in a simple stat.
The man seems to defy physics with a football at his feet and has redefined the role of a centre forward (if he really is a centre forward). He is what many call a ‘false nine’, but most importantly, he is known as Liverpool’s ‘false nine’.
For now, like Philippe Coutinho, like Luis Suarez, like Steven Gerrard all once were, he should also be known as Liverpool’s main man.