Roberto Firmino has been central to Liverpool’s on-pitch development in recent years with the number 9 the perfect embodiment of Jurgen Klopp’s pressing-from-the-front style.
The Brazilian international has just won the Copa America with Reds teammate Alisson Becker this summer and knows another hectic season awaits him on Merseyside.
Firmino leads from the front and really gives new credence to the phrase ‘the first line of defence is attack’.
The former Hoffenheim star joined The Reds from the Bundesliga club in the summer of 2015, just months before the arrival of Herr Klopp. Firmino’s playing style turned out to be exactly what Klopp needed from a centre-forward and so the perfect combination was formed.
Could Firmino be tasked with a slightly deeper role in 2019/20, though?
It’s widely expected that Divock Origi will play a significant role in Liverpool’s early-season fixtures. This is due to Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Firmino all having featured heavily for their international teams in the Copa America and AFCON throughout June and into July.
If Origi starts the season well and continues to impress Klopp, the German coach could well decide to mix things up a little to facilitate the striker in his front three. In such a case, to be in the starting eleven, Firmino may be asked to play in the ’10’ role at the tip of the midfield trio.
Origi’s preseason form has been impressive as he looks to have picked up where he left off after his Champions League heroics against both Barcelona and Spurs at the end of last season. However, the Belgian international will have to do a hell of a lot to displace Firmino, Salah or Mané from Klopp’s first-choice forward line.
Yet, it’s altogether possible that Origi gets the nod in some games where The Reds need an added focal point in attack. Firmino could play just behind Origi, Salah and Mané so Klopp’s team doesn’t lose out on the Brazilian star’s incredible pressing levels.