Roberto Firmino registered six key passes against Burnley – twice as many as his opponents. The Brazilian continues to show why he doesn’t need to be a goalscorer.
Firmino made six key passes against Burnley, per Whoscored. That’s more than anyone else on the pitch – although, Sadio Mane ran him close with five.
In fact, if you take out Mane, Firmino managed one more than the rest of the Liverpool team combined. He managed twice as many as Burnley’s starting XI and two substitutes.
Firmino’s creativity is especially relevant right now, given that the Burnley game also saw him keep up his bizarre record of zero home Premier League goals this season.
“It’s not important who scores. We need Bobby for other things, we need Bobby in exactly the spaces where he was today, we need him as a link-up for all the other things. We only have chances in other positions because Bobby plays the way he plays.” – Jurgen Klopp after Liverpool 1-1 Burnley
But then, the Brazilian is a different kind of centre-forward.
Firmino wasn’t even a recognised no.9 when he first arrived at Anfield in 2015. He was a no.10 and played like one, scheming behind Daniel Sturridge or Christian Benteke and sometimes filling in out wide.
But Jurgen Klopp quickly changed his strategy and moved Firmino to a centre-forward role. It was an inspired decision, too, as the ex-Hoffenheim man is arguably the most important player in the side now.
Going forward, Firmino is undeniably the key. No, he won’t grab the goals but he doesn’t need to. Instead, his movement and passing create goals for the wide men.
And you can’t understate that movement. Firmino managed to create a goal against Aston Villa, for instance, without touching the ball.
We’ve gone on and on about Firmino this season, despite his somewhat underwhelming goalscoring. He’s just so important.
Even though he couldn’t find the breakthrough against Burnley, Firmino still shone. He still showed why he’s the one who can make this team tick, even if others struggle.
On another day – or against a goalkeeper in worse form than Nick Pope – he gets a couple of assists. On a luckier day, his shot goes in off the post.
Regardless of his fortune, though, this was another example of Firmino being a world-class forward – even without the goals.