In Roberto Firmino’s first eight Liverpool games, the attacker had no goals and or assists. Anybody who had watched him play in the Bundesliga was confident he could deliver, but those who hadn’t quickly began to wonder if perhaps the club had overreached by paying £29M for the versatile Brazilian.
Then, Liverpool changed managers, bringing in a man who had watched Firmino regularly while managing in Germany and who identified the 24-year-old as one of the Bundesliga’s best. The change was immediate, and in the 29 games since, Firmino has been Liverpool’s leading scorer with nine goals and nine assists.
Since the start of 2016, Firmino has eight goals and four assists in 15 games across all competitions. He has been not just Liverpool’s leading scorer, but their best attacker and best player. And so it was hardly a surprise when he again turned in a Man of the Match performance against rivals Manchester United last night.
Unlike so many attacking players, Firmino doesn’t just bring chances and key passes and goals. He also brings industry. There are few attackers in the league as dedicated to chasing their man back into the defensive third when their teammates get caught high up the pitch. There are few as willing to press, tackle, and harry.
Against United, he scored the second goal, set up the penalty, and could have had a few more assists had his teammates finished better—or had David de Gea not stood on his head once again in a match against Liverpool. He also pressed constantly. And he chased back regularly, too, covering for out of position teammates.
It was a complete, dominant performance. It was also the kind of a performance many Liverpool fans have come to expect from Firmino. Long may it continue.
Video by MrBoywunder