Brazilian manager Tite has revealed that Roberto Firmino played through injury in order to help Liverpool achieve a top four finish.
It was something that numerous people had picked up on last season.
Despite a strong start, Roberto Firmino just simply didn’t look right from January onwards.
There were still moments when he truly sparkled – his performances at home against Swansea/Arsenal and his goal away at Stoke were standouts – but for every 8/10 performance, there was a 5/10 round the corner and it often looked as if he was playing with a 70% full tank at most.
The all-action style that Klopp demands from his forwards – especially his central striker – had evidently taken its’ toll on the Brazilian attacker and the fact that he wasn’t allowed many – if any – elongated periods of recovery meant he was constantly involved.
Now, it seems some further clarity on why this was the case may have just been revealed by Brazilian manager Tite, who was asked to clear up why Firmino was not picked for Brazil’s trip to Australia last month.
“Firmino was in poor physical condition, he only played for Liverpool because of the importance of the games. I decided to rest him,” Tite explained.
“Klopp asked us to spare both players, however, the medical report showed Coutinho is ready, so we told Klopp that we will select him.”
“Firmino wouldn’t have played if Liverpool weren’t fighting for a Champions League spot. We understood his medical condition so we spared him.”
“Klopp wanted Coutinho to rest, but I insisted on selecting him because I had never tried him in central midfield, I wanted to do it.”
Only Nathaniel Clyne played more minutes for Liverpool than Firmino last season and the Brazilian started eight out of the Reds final ten games, coming off the bench against Stoke and missing the West Ham match through injury.
Despite his physical struggles during the latter parts of the season, Firmino still enjoyed a productive campaign, scoring 12 goals and assisting 8 in all competitions.
However, with the signing of Mohamed Salah giving Klopp further depth out wide, the Reds new no.9 will be hoping to spend much more of his time at striker this season, hopefully allowing him to go on to the next level and breach the 15-20 goal barrier.