Roberto Firmino put in a brilliant performance against Tottenham Hotspur. The Brazilian showed why he was one of the best around – and truly irreplaceable.
It wasn’t just his goal, either. That was the obvious highlight, of course, but his display was far more than that.
Firmino took full advantage of Spurs’ attacking midfield. Jose Mourinho decided to fill the middle of the pitch with ball-playing midfielders, which naturally left gaps.
And who better to exploit those Tottenham gaps than Firmino? The forward dropped deep whenever needed and took full advantage of the lack of a natural destroyer.
It was necessary, too. Mourinho had gone with his tactics as a ploy to stop Liverpool’s full-back reliance and it worked. Andy Robertson had a man-marker, preventing his use as an out-ball. While Trent Alexander-Arnold found his area of the pitch plugged up with defensive worries.
Subscribe to Rousing The Kop TV now
Without the full-backs at their best, Liverpool had to look centrally. Firmino was the one who stepped up and virtually everything went through him.
Firmino stepped up
Even from the first two minutes, his movement got him in behind to create a golden chance. Even though he missed that, he immediately created one for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain that should have been scored.
Firmino’s movement continued throughout and he was the most dangerous player for the Reds. In a game where things never truly clicked, his ability to take charge of the attack was a game-changer.
How many players can do that? Liverpool have such a fantastic gameplan with their full-backs and one that doesn’t ask Firmino to run games. He’s still an integral part of the team, even if it’s a slightly more traditional centre-forward role.
The fact that he can then effectively take over the responsibility and become the main attacking force is incredible. His dual-role as number 9 and number 10 makes the £29m man one of the best players in the Premier League.
How on earth will Liverpool ever replace him?