There is, perhaps, no player in the Liverpool squad who manager Jürgen Klopp values more than the versatile, hard working Roberto Firmino—whether or not the Brazilian attacker has managed to score a goal that week.
That’s been clear since the manager first arrived at Anfield, and following Watford, Klopp took the opportunity to remind people that no matter if he shows up on the scoresheet, Firmino is making the team better.
“He will never come to me because people are saying something is missing and ask: ‘Boss, can I play in my old position again?’” Klopp said when asked about Firmino scoring his first goal in seven league games.
“He is doing the job. That makes him so unbelievably valuable for us. I’m really happy with him. Yes, we had a long season last season and he had a World Cup, but it’s not about position. It’s about what you have to do.”
Klopp has asked the entire team to play a more restrained, controlling game this season. And in particular he has asked Firmino to take on a deeper role in recent weeks, with the player operating in midfield against Watford.
That has meant fewer chances to score and fewer chances to impress with flair as Firmino charges at the last defender or isolates a fullback. But Liverpool have been winning—and Firmino’s been doing what he’s been asked to.
“It all depends what you want to see, what you expect, and what you compare it with,” Klopp added. “In the last home game against Fulham, I had 20 German coaches in the stadium, friends of mine.
“They watched the game. I’m not sure what the critics were saying about Bobby Firmino after the game, but when I saw the coaches later and we had drinks together, they were like ‘Bobby Firmino—what a player!’
“It’s because of the small things he is doing, he is working hard, he is here, he is there, he has five goals now and he opens 5,000 gaps for everybody. It’s about how you see it.”