While Mohamed Salah is deservedly earning all the plaudits for his phenomenal debut season on Merseyside, Roberto Firmino continues quietly having a career-best season. Firmino’s 19 goals and 9 assists in all competitions is far and away his best season with Liverpool, and puts him on pace to break his personal scoring record of 22 goals scored at Hoffenheim during the 2013/14 season.
Although Firmino had his doubters about his ability to be a consistent goal threat as a #9, he has been proving critics wrong all season, and producing some fantastic goals in the process. In an interview with the club’s official site, Firmino spoke about two of his more spectacular efforts: the finish from an impossibly tight angle against Huddersfield Town,and that Robbie Fowler-esque chip against Manchester City.
“When the play started and I got the ball [against Huddersfield], I realised that I was on my own. I looked for my teammates, but none of them were well positioned inside the box,” Firmino explained.
“The opposition defence was very well positioned at the time, so I took a chance, shot and managed to score. It was a very a small gap for the ball to go through, but I was happy with it.
“I actually commented with my family and friends afterwards that when I was very young, I used to play football with very small nets. Occasionally, we had ‘keepers, but generally I was practising scoring using very small, empty nets.
“I used to be quite successful, even with a ‘keeper on the line, and I think this is the reason why I was able to score, because I used to try it in training with my youth teams.
It was a truly stunning moment, where all 21 other players on the pitch, and everyone watching in the stands or at home were just left to scratch their heads, wondering how anyone could score from there.
Of course, no discussion about Firmino’s goals this season would be complete without his audacious chip of Man City’s Ederson. The goal, a practical carbon-copy of Fowler’s chip against that other Manchester team at Old Trafford in 1995, will undoubtedly be in contention for Liverpool’s goal of the season.
“Yes, I saw the comparisons and similarities with Fowler’s goal because I was sent an Instagram example,” Firmino said.
“I was very happy when I was compared to him. He is a legend, he was an excellent player, and that left me very happy and pleased to see my goal being compared to his.”
The comparison was, indeed, appropriate. This season Firmino has managed to turn his doubters into believers. Long may it continue.