Matthew Johnson explains why Roberto Firmino is proof you shouldn’t judge new players straight away.
The Brazilian international, who signed for the club for a fee of £29 million in 2015 from German outfit Hoffenheim has become one of Liverpool’s best and most important players for Jurgen Klopp. However, when he first arrived under the management of former manager Brendan Rodgers he didn’t look like he suited the Premier League and was quickly labelled a ‘flop’ by fans and media.
During the 2015/16 season and when Jurgen Klopp took charge, Liverpool fans started to see why the club paid so much money for him and his season started to take charge.
He had a total of 10 goals and 7 assists by the end of the season and was a key player in helping the team get to two cup finals. The Brazilian had many stand out games during the campaign: Manchester City (4-1), Arsenal (2-2), Norwich (4-3) and Manchester United in the Europa League.
However, it’s not just his goals and assists which prove why he is an extraordinary signing for Liverpool, but his off the ball contribution.
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He creates spaces for other players to get into good positions and is crucial for Jurgen Klopp’s style of pressing. This was especially noticed vs. Manchester City at the Etihad where he forced errors from the opponent’s defence as they couldn’t cope with his constant pressing.
His best position is still debated a year later after he was signed as an attacking midfielder but spent most of the 2015/16 campaign as a centre-forward. Klopp seems more keen to play him in the number 9 role, however, his versatility is essential if injuries are to be picked up along the way.
He has shown he is more than capable to slot into a deeper role when needed as he technically top notch and is a player who can play delightful passes through defences and is always keen to track back.
Nothing reflects his quality better than the fact he gets in the first 11 above Daniel Sturridge, one of the best players in the Premier League. Firmino may not be a better player than Sturridge, however, it’s not necessary about being the best player, it’s about who fits the system better to make the team perform. At this moment, it’s Roberto Firmino.
2016/17 season – the Brazilian is destined to go one step further than last season having already started off well & showing promising signs of a blossoming partnership between himself, Coutinho and newly recruited Sadio Mane.
Liverpool fans will hope the club will be able to keep hold of the Brazilian number 11 come 2 or 3 years’ time when he is bound to become one of Europe’s best players.
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