With five goals and two assists in his last six games for the club, it’s safe to say that Roberto Firmino is in something of a hot streak right now. While there has previously been a debate over whether his excellent work rate and link-up play mean that he can be forgiven for not scoring as many as a “proper striker” should, at the moment he’s providing the whole package, adding more goals to his game without sacrificing everything else he does. As his manager might say, he’s starting to turn doubters into believers.
Unsurprisingly, he appears to be highly thought of within the club, with Trent Alexander-Arnold suggesting his work doesn’t get its due credit.
“I think he’s definitely underrated in terms of the recognition that he gets. I think he links the whole team together”, the young right back said. He went even further in terms of praising Firmino’s work rate, adding that “most of the time you see him past the halfway line, tracking back and making tackles. Sometimes he overdoes it, but in a good way. I suppose he doesn’t have to do it, but he’s willing to do it for the team”.
He probably sums it up best by claiming that “you don’t really see [the work rate] from an all-round No. 9. It just shows his hunger to win”. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine certain other top clubs getting quite so much out of their big name number nines.
There was some other positive news on the Firmino front this weekend too, as the generally reputable Dominic King of the Daily Mail reports that our number nine is set to be offered a new contract, which King expects to be signed soon. With the current deal apparently running until 2020, now should be the ideal time to lock him in for several more years.
And if that means more years of rehearsed celebrations for Sadio Mané to amusingly try to copy, it’s terrific news all round.