As football fans, it’s very easy to roll your eyes when a player tells you how much they love playing for your team. This is especially true for Liverpool fans reading quotes from South American stars. Yes, they love it at Liverpool right up to the point when one of the Spanish giants comes sniffing around. (Though, apparently such sniffing will cost them).
That said, our Brazilian attacking duo of Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino have repeatedly stated their love for Liverpool, so for now I guess we have to take them at their word.
“Being really honest, I love it here and plan to stay for many years in the future as the Premier League is really competitive and tests you all the time,” Firmino said in an interview with the club’s official magazine.
“I think I have had to change the way I play. I was adapted to European football after playing in Germany for three years but English football is very different to the Bundesliga.
“You really notice that the Premier League is much, much faster - the pace is very high and you do need to adjust, but this is a type of football that I enjoy.”
There are worse things to hear from one of your most important play-makers.
Firmino has been, without a doubt, a great pick up since moving here from Hoffenheim. Oddly enough, he has not received the plaudits you would expect from a player who has scored nearly 20 goals in a year and a half playing for Liverpool. He has very similar stats to his international teammate Philippe Coutinho, but can hardly get a look-in for the national team.
Perhaps it is because Firmino is such an anomaly as a football player. He’s technically gifted, tactically smart, and full of endeavor. Yet, growing up managers didn’t really know where to play him.
“When I was younger I played as a right-back. I also played as a central defender but I realized that I could dominate the ball quite calmly so I started playing further forward in front of the back four.
“After a while I thought that I was quite offensive so when I was 17 or 18, I started playing a more forward-thinking midfielder. That’s how I eventually ended up playing in the areas like I am today.”
Under Klopp, the attacking midfielder has been pushed even further forward, becoming the preferred striker when everyone is healthy. Since the injury to Coutinho, Firmino has been pushed wide, and his contributions have diminished. But if Firmino is bothered by that fact, he’s not showing it.
“If it depended on me, I would play in every corner of the ground because that’s the type of player I am! But obviously it alters depending on the needs of the team.
“At the moment, I am playing up front but I can play anywhere the manager asks me to. My preference is to be inside the area, near where the goals are scored - that’s my preference!”
Well, Bobby, I didn’t think I could love you more than I did, but I do now. Please don’t follow Coutinho to Barcelona.