Roberto Firmino might have expected to play a smaller role this season given the signing of Darwin Núñez and continued good form of Diogo Jota and Luis Díaz as options in the front three.
Injuries, however, have limited Jürgen Klopp’s options in both midfield and for the front three, and Firmino has started three in a row following Núñez’s suspension against Crystal Palace.
Supporters have noted a change in Firmino’s goal-involvements and general form since his peak for Liverpool — arguably in the period around 2018 — and his efforts in the early disappointing results this season felt like more of the same: Firmino dropping deep for the ball and not really impacting the scoresheet in any meaningful way.
In the last two starts, however, Firmino has been back to his resplendent best, scoring for fun and being all-grins. He’s scored two in three appearanced, brought his full tally for the club to 100 goals, and has added a few assists for good measure.
Speaking ahead of the Goodison Derby, Klopp addressed Firmino’s crucial impact this season:
[It] was, if you want, the other little benefit of the suspension: that Bobby just [played] how I believed he would have played.
Timing-wise it was perfect finding his real shape because he played obviously exceptionally. I said before, I liked a lot of the Man United game even though not a lot of people maybe agree with me on that, but then obviously Bournemouth and now again really important for us.
The way he plays, that’s why it is the Bobby we know.
You cannot score 100 goals if you have a lot of downs but if you have a lot of ups it’s maybe possible and that’s why he has reached this number, which is pretty special. Really happy for him. He got here in this room his shirt with 100 and the applause of the guys was nearly as loud as when we scored the 2-1 against Newcastle! Obviously everyone was really happy for him and yeah, it was good.
Firmino may or may not be handed another start against Everton this Saturday, but whether he’s given a rest or not we can all join the team in relishing the Brazilian performing at his very best in a red shirt.