Steve Bruce compared Roberto Firmino to Manchester United legend Eric Cantona after the Brazilian’s performance on Saturday.
Firmino was outstanding after arriving as a substitute against Newcastle United, creating two goals. It was the style in which he did it that really caught the eye, however – he appeared to have complete control of the game.
It was Firmino at his absolute best. His defensive work was flawless, of course, but he was the ultimate playmaker going forward.
And after the game, Newcastle boss Steve Bruce – a former Manchester United captain – made an eye-catching comparison.
“[Eric] Cantona is as good a player as I’ve ever seen,” Bruce told the Telegraph. “I haven’t seen Firmino week in week out like that, but just when you see him here and what he gives them, it’s a perfect balance. And Cantona gave us that.”
It’s a grand comparison, considering Cantona is probably the most influential player of the Premier League era. His arrival at United transformed them into a near-unstoppable side, proving the worth of a player between the lines.
It was revolutionary and led to a swarm of hole players to England. Every team now wanted one as Cantona’s uniqueness was so important to United.
And similar can be said of Firmino. He does stand out as a unique centre-forward – one who is less about goals and more about improving the team as a whole.
Like Cantona 25 years ago, every team in the league could do with a player like Firmino. But there’s really only one – and Liverpool are very lucky to have him.