Robbie Fowler recently talked about his biggest regret at Liverpool and it highlights the importance of Roberto Firmino.
“I had frustration in my career that I never had a partner who was a creator, with the team built to provide me with chances,” Fowler wrote in the Mirror. “I was always alongside another scorer – [Ian] Rush, Stan Collymore, Michael [Owen].”
The recent ‘controversy’ between Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah brought about Fowler’s comments. Salah didn’t pass the ball to a wide-open Mane and shot instead – missing the target.
The two are pretty selfish players, always looking to score but that can be a good thing. They score consistently, constantly threaten, and lead the attack.
But as Fowler said – it can be frustrating playing with a player who is looking to do what you do. Thank god, then, for Firmino, who has become a revelation since his £29m arrival.
Firmino operates between the two and is about as selfless as a forward gets. He does all the running necessary and deliberately moves out of the best spaces to leave room for Mane and Salah.
It’s an incredible role – in which he’s the best in the world – and it dramatically improves the fortunes of teammates.
Liverpool will have a problem when he slows down or moves on. You can’t replace him with a traditional forward, even one as good as Kylian Mbappe, for example, without changing the attack completely.
The selflessness adds to the team in a way that more goals wouldn’t. Fowler and his Liverpool would have been better if they’d had Firmino.
And this one would be far worse off if it didn’t.