Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink believes Roberto Firmino should be scoring more goals. The Brazilian is struggling to repeat his exploits of last season.
Hasselbaink made the claim about Firmino in a column for BBC Sport. The ex-Leeds United and Chelsea striker was full of praise, however, hailing his work rate.
But Firmino does often lead the line for Liverpool and his goal tally this season is below par.
“What you also need as a traditional striker is a selfish streak,” said Hasselbaink. “When I played, I always wanted to score goals and I would love to play in this Liverpool side because they create so many opportunities.
“With 13 goals in all competitions this season, Firmino is not doing badly, but he ended up with 27 in 2017-18 and at this stage he already had 23.
“[Mo] Salah is struggling for goals too, but [Sadio] Mane is making up for that with 11 goals from his past 11 games, and he is on fire right now.
“At the moment Liverpool do not have a big problem, but if Mane stops scoring they could have because they rely so heavily on their front three.”
Hasselbaink is right to point out that Firmino isn’t scoring with any consistency this year. He’s not the only one, of course, as Salah is going through a rough patch too.
Mane has become so vital to Liverpool that when he doesn’t score, no one does. Liverpool have failed to score in three games over the last 11, with Mane scoring in all the rest.
If those dry up, the Reds will have a problem and Firmino is one that everyone will turn to.
It’s difficult to criticise too much, of course. Liverpool are top of the league and in the Champions League quarter-finals despite Mane being the only player on course to beat last year’s tally.
And so something is going right. Liverpool’s defence has meant they haven’t needed quite as many goals as last year.
But as Hasselbaink says, they are over-reliant on Mane right now. Firmino stepping up would add a lot more security to the run-in.