I’m not saying it’s impossible to believe that Roberto Firmino could ever have been classified as shy, but it does stretch the imagination a bit. Still, if you ask him, that’s how he’d describe himself.
“I used to be very shy, much more so than I am now. It’s great that I’ve improved in that regard. Every day I’m getting better and less… embarrassed,” he told Sky Sports.
“I’m gradually coming out of my shell. I’ve always been shy, it’s just that I transform on the pitch. I’m a different person. Off the pitch I’m another person. That’s how it has to be.
“I think I was born with that desire to win and attention to detail. I learnt a lot in Germany and the German mentality really helped me. It was an enormous step in my life.”
If you’re having a tough time reconciling Firmino’s Instagram feed with this description of himself, you’re not alone. But perhaps in person or with strangers he has a more subdued personality. Either way, it’s nice to hear that his confidence in himself is growing, and it’s born out by his self-assured performances on the pitch over the last few seasons.
Regarding his manager, Jürgen Klopp, the Brazilian was full of compliments.
“We’ve only been working together for three years, but it seems like it’s been longer. I’m very happy under him and think he’s an incredible coach. I’ve learnt so much from him and that doesn’t only apply to me, but to the whole team. I think he’s excellent.
“I’ve been learning a lot from Klopp ever since he came in. He’s brought everything together and got that across to the team. We’re doing that well now.”
While many, if not most, of the players have benefited from Klopp’s coaching expertise, Firmino is a player where Klopp’s touch has been particularly evident. Moving him to center forward in a 4-3-3 has given Firmino freedom to play his best football and score some spectacular goals for the Reds.
Liverpool are going to need Firmino firing at his best on Sunday when the Reds host Manchester City in a fixture that, even in the early goings of this season, could have huge repercussions on the final table come May.