Steve Nicol told ESPN that he thinks that Jurgen Klopp is lying to the media about the severity of Roberto Firmino’s injury and that he will be out for the rest of the season.
“Listen, when the press are talking to you as a coach, you really don’t want to tell them the truth.
“You’re always trying to cover things a little bit. If he thought Bobby Firmino was going to play, he’d say, ‘He’s got a wee knock but he’ll be fine’.
“When you start going into detail and start using the word tear, that scares me. A tear, you can’t play. You can’t do it.”
Firmino missed Liverpool’s 5-0 demolition job against Huddersfield Town on Friday and is a major doubt to face Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday.
If the £29million signing (BBC) is indeed out for the remaining games this season it likely won’t harm Liverpool domestically.
In Europe, however, the Brazilian is one of Klopp’s best performers and, despite only playing in the Champions League for his second season, is closing on Steven Gerrard’s mantle as top scorer for the club.
A misconception regarding the Brazilian is that he is a striker when he is, in fact, a lot more than that.
Without Firmino, there is a lot less balance up front for Liverpool. His work rate and willingness to do the dirty work makes him the most important forward at the club.
It’s a crazy thing to suggest when Mohamed Salah has almost 100 goals and assists in his first 100 appearances for Liverpool but Firmino’s ability to link midfield and attack is unmatched on Merseyside.
Without him, there is nobody to step in and do a similar job. With Bobby out against Huddersfield, Sturridge was recalled and it was actually scary to see how far he has fallen from his best days in 2013 and 2014.
With Sturridge beyond his best and Divock Origi actually better suited to a role on the left wing, there isn’t a single player at the club that can replicate Firmino’s strongest attributes.
If the Brazilian is unavailable when Barcelona host Liverpool on Wednesday, the Reds might run into some serious issues going forward.