Jürgen Klopp has never really cared how many goals Roberto Firmino scores as his striker, and after an impressive first half to the 2017-18 season, it’s starting to look like everyone else has finally come around to seeing things the way the Liverpool manager does.
The goals Firmino does score are great, are valuable, are necessary. But if he doesn’t score a goal in any given match, he’ll do plenty of other things that help others to score theirs and give Liverpool a chance to win. The goals, when they come, are good. But they aren’t what make Firmino great.
“I couldn't say how many he has,” Klopp noted after Tuesday night’s victory over Swansea that saw Firmino score a brace—his eighth and ninth of the season in the league and 15th and 16th in all competitions, for those who unlike Klopp do want to keep track of those things.
“I don't care, to be honest. Roberto, I appreciate always his effort and his performance. That he scores twice I'm happy about that but I could not say how many goals he has scored so far in the season because I feel he is always involved, he is always in and around the really dangerous situations.”
It’s not just getting in and around the really dangerous attacking situations—creating chances for himself and teammates. It’s his work off the ball, his willingness to run and set the press. And it even goes beyond that, with Firmino the rare centre forward who tracks back when teammates get stuck forward.
"First half he helped left fullback to right fullback,” Klopp added. “He was everywhere. And in the end he scored two goals, so that's nice."