Liverpool have one of the deadliest attacks of recent times. Jürgen Klopp’s trident of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino have proved too much for defences in England, Europe and the rest of the world. The telepathy between the players along with the masterful movement and vision of the number 9 has been critical to the trio’s threat. The boss rarely switches up his attacking lineup but this may, to an extent, be out of necessity. However, this may not be the case much longer; Roberto Firmino may finally have cover and competition in Takumi Minamino.
Bobby no mates
Roberto Firmino signed for Liverpool for £29m in the summer of 2015, arriving a matter of months before Jürgen Klopp.
The Brazilian quickly established himself as the Reds’ first choice striker and has been for five years now.
Unlike any other striker in the Premier League, the number 9 is more of a creator than a goalscorer, often dropping deep to find his teammates with a deft flick or a clever through ball.
Such is the singular role that the Bobby plays in this Reds side, he hasn’t had any cover or competition since arriving at Anfield. Occasionally Divock Origi will fill in but this means a completely different approach to the game.
He truly has been Bobby no mates when it comes to the selection stakes, he has stood alone, irreplaceable.
Liverpool signed Takumi Minamino from Red Bull Salzburg in January for a fee of £7.25m.
The Japanese utility man had impressed over two legs against the Reds, netting in the tie at Anfield.
Since arriving at Anfield we haven’t seen much of the new addition, not surprising given that Klopp is noted for his gradual introduction to the first team of new signings.
The now-not-so-new signing is expected to play a bigger role in the team next season having been thoroughly acquainted with his teammates.
Firmino challenged by Minamino
In the second half of Liverpool’s friendly with Stuttgart we saw that Roberto Firmino may well finally have some cover and competition in the shape of Takumi Minamino.
The Japanese came on at half time and showcased a style of play we have come to associate with our Brazilian fan favourite.
Much like Firmino we saw Minamino dropping deep to receive the ball, deceiving defenders with clever turns before pinging a ball into an attacker’s feet.
He was hungry to get on the ball and impossible to deal with in possession, often ghosting past his man and rarely losing the ball.
For now the new boy should provide more than adequate cover for the number 9 but should he capitalise on his chances he should be able to provide competition.
Bobby is magic on his day but has occasional dips in form where he fails to influence the game in the manner we know that he can; having another maestro behind him in the pecking order might be just what he needs to spur his game on and avoid these sporadic blips.