In Roberto Firmino, Jürgen Klopp has found a player who perfectly reflects his approach to football, and with that has come what seems a guarantee of minutes for the 26-year-old Brazilian. Whether playing at striker, on the wing, or even in midfield, if Firmino is fit he’s going to start.
That starring turn and his versatility has gotten him noticed back home in Brazil in a way he hasn’t been before, but to hear him talk about his growing importance for club and country, Firmino sounds more like someone just happy to be playing—role, really, doesn’t seem much to matter.
“It’s the coach’s job to find the best position for the players he has available to him,” Firmino noted of his move to play centre forward. “We have lots of attacking players in the side, like [Sadio] Mané and [Mohamed] Salah in addition to Philippe Coutinho who plays a deeper role now.”
He’s taking a similar approach to his place in the Brazilian national team, where the presence of Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus means minutes at striker may be harder to come by. For Firmino, though, the focus is on playing well and doing the job asked of him, no matter what it is.
That’s probably why he seems such a favourite of Klopp’s, a player who will have a place in the starting eleven somewhere so long as he can run out on the pitch. And as much as it seems clear Firmino that is a favourite of Klopp’s, the player appears to have found his ideal manager in return.
“With each passing year I feel more comfortable, more at home, and this is very positive to me,” Firmino added. “Having the opportunity to work with Klopp has been very good for my development. He’s a coach who asks a lot, has a lot of experience, and really understands a lot about football.
“Liverpool got it right when they brought him here and certainly the club’s growth in recent seasons has a lot to do with him—my hope is that at the end of the season we can celebrate a title together.”