Roberto Firmino may return from injury to face Wolves, according to reports. Jurgen Klopp should ignore it, however, in favour of another Liverpool star.
Sky Sports says Robert Firmino could return on Monday. The Brazilian missed Liverpool’s midweek win over RB Leipzig with a knee injury.
They only say he ‘has a chance’ of making the Wolves game, suggesting Klopp will end up with a decision to make. And if it comes down to that, we think the boss should pass up the opportunity.
The urge to put Firmino straight back in will be there. He’s been a vital player for years, after all, and Liverpool aren’t playing well.
The idea that the Liverpool of old is just a game away, then, is a tempting one. Maybe this is the game things click and the front-three return to being the dominant force they once were?
Only, we’ve watched months of stagnant, disappointing attacking football. Firmino has been a big part of that as he goes through his worst season in Red.
The Brazilian rarely makes the right decision, can’t finish with any consistency and frequently appears off the pace. Compare that to Wednesday.
Diogo Jota started in Firmino’s place and added a different dimension to the attack. Instead of dropping deep as the latter does, Jota consistently offered a threat in behind.
He stretched the RB Leipzig backline, created more space in between the lines, and offered a consistent out-ball right up the middle of the pitch.
Liverpool’s first goal came that way, in fact. Jota chased a pass up the middle, drew defenders towards him, and found an open Mohamed Salah. It’s the kind of goal you don’t really get with Firmino.
The cost was possession – Liverpool had under 50 per cent. But in terms of goal threat, the Reds just looked much more potent and dynamic.
And so as they travel to Wolves, Klopp should resist the urge to put Firmino back in and start with Jota again, instead.