Rio Ferdinand has highlighted the individual struggles of Roberto Firmino this season as Liverpool surrendered further ground in their bid for a top-four finish.
Liverpool made it four consecutive home defeats following their 2-0 defeat to Everton – their worst return since 1923. Goals from Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson were enough to secure the Toffees their first Anfield win since 1999.
The reigning English champions were woefully blunt in the attacking department, with Firmino at the forefront of Liverpool’s problems.
Despite flashes of brilliance this season, particularly against Tottenham (home and away), Crystal Palace and Leicester, his form has dwindled on far too many occasions this season.
His return of six goals in 35 appearances in all competitions this season just simply isn’t good enough for a Liverpool No.9. The Brazilian has never scored against Everton and he didn’t look close to putting that right at the weekend.
Subscribe to Rousing The Kop TV now
In total, he had four shots – more than any player on the pitch. However only one was on target, despite having the best chances of the match. Firmino’s fortunes in front of goal were typified when he lashed an effort wildly into the Kop.
Ferdinand on Firmino
This is a pattern that former Manchester United captain Ferdinand has clearly picked up on. And as a result, he highlighted how Liverpool need to rebuild certain individuals, such as Firmino, for the team to rediscover their confidence.
Speaking on Rio Ferdinand Presents Five, he said: “Don’t forget, you had a front-three where everything they touched hit the back of the last season and the season before.
“It’s not quite the same this season – although Salah is the top goalscorer in the league, Firmino can’t hit a barn door. So, it’s very different. You’ve got to rebuild certain individuals as well as the team.”
What RTK has to say
Again, Ferdinand makes some accurate points. It’s not just Firmino’s goals that have dried up in recent months, but his all-round contribution, too. He had just 54 touches of the ball against Everton – the lowest of any Liverpool outfield player.
Also, despite winning just eight of his 14 duels, gaining possession on four separate occasions – the £29 million [BBC] man from Hoffenheim lost the ball nine times.
His lack of creativity, especially at Anfield, is clearly hurting the team. After all, Liverpool haven’t scored from open play at home since December 27.
Liverpool had 72 per cent of the ball against Everton, yet failed to penetrate the opposition. The dip in form of Firmino has played a big role in that.
The fact Liverpool struggle so significantly when he’s not on song is a compliment to his importance to the team. However, with Firmino turning 30 in October, Klopp may need to look to another central attacking alternative this summer.
Firmino is undoubtedly an Anfield legend, but his influence is slowly diminishing. Getting in additional help would certainly help the way he can be managed next season.