Roberto Firmino has long been one of the most important players of the Jürgen Klopp era. His shift in position to spearhead the attack has brought out the best features of his game and elevated him to cult hero status for Liverpool fans.
That said, Firmino hasn’t yet hit the heights of seasons prior so far in this campaign. Currently, he’s in the midst of a dry spell, having scored only once in his last nine matches. This pas weekend, in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal, Firmino got the hook from Klopp in the second half in order to bring on Xherdan Shaqiri.
The last match he scored in was the Champions League match against Red Star Belgrade at Anfield. With the Reds in Serbia preparing to play out the return fixture, Klopp was asked about Firmino’s form and maintained confidence in his Brazilian star.
“He’s hard-working, sometimes better, sometimes a bit less, but good,” he said. “That’s how it is. It will be all fine for sure. If he didn’t score in the last few games then… one in nine? All competitions? Didn’t he score against Red Star? That was the one goal he scored? Okay, good. I am not concerned. Things like this happen. He is a very important player for us. I was not really happy with our defending first half in London and he was involved in that. That’s what I’m talking about.
“In the end everything will be fine. We know about these situations. Sometimes it is clicking easier than in other moments, that’s all. There are no concerns.”
Could fatigue be the answer? Today’s match may be one where Daniel Sturridge starts up top to give Firmino a break. Klopp has made rotation a priority, and certainly if he believes Firmino needs time off, he’ll find a way to make that happen.
When followed up about that question, Klopp said, “Not really but of course it is something we think about 100%. Constantly actually.”
Firmino finding his form from last season could be the final piece of the puzzle for this Liverpool team who are playing well, but still not quite at their potential. Hopefully sometime soon we’ll have Firmino’s weird, exuberant goal celebration to once again fill us with joy.