Roberto Firmino creates a difficult situation for Jurgen Klopp with another Brazil goal. That’s three in three for the forward.
Roberto Firmino is not in form. He’s got one goal for Liverpool this season, despite starting ten games.
His creativity isn’t much better – two assists in that time. In fact, Firmino has managed two shots, zero key passes and completed one dribble in his last two starts.
He’s clearly out of form, then. But try telling that to Brazil – Firmino scored another goal for Brazil on Saturday.
That’s three goals in three games after his brace against Bolivia. This time it was the sole goal in a 1-0 win over Venezuela.
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And that creates a strange problem for Jurgen Klopp.
If Firmino was just out of form then Klopp would take him out of the side. It’s as simple as that – he’s not playing well, so leave him out until he gets back in form.
But the fact he’s scoring for Brazil suggests it’s not entirely a question of form. He can score goals – important goals – and bizarrely, he can do it out of position.
Because it would be one thing if Firmino was a settled fixture in the Brazil team and scoring off the back of that. But Tete played him as a left-winger against Venezuela. Yet Firmino still got the winner.
So what does Klopp do? Firmino is clearly capable of winning games right now and playing well – so do you persist?
The boss will probably want to, given the player’s importance. His selfless style, seen through his movement, pressing and running, means Firmino offers things the other forwards simply can’t.
He makes everyone else better, rather than operating as the major threat himself. That’s what has made the £29m man such a vital part of this wonderfully successful Liverpool team.
But he’s not playing well for his club. It’s not clear why, but Firmino is struggling week to week. So playing him feels like handicapping the team right now when there are other options.
The fact he’s scoring for Brazil suggests he can bounce back quickly, though. The form is in there somewhere – it just needs to come out. For that reason, we imagine Klopp will just keep playing him.
The reward of a fully-firing Firmino outweighs the risk by some distance.