Roberto Firmino surely earned himself a start against Manchester City this Sunday with his display against Porto. The Brazilian impressed over just 23 minutes.
Liverpool eased to a 5-1 win over Porto on Tuesday to step out in front in their Champions League group. The Reds were relentless and were far too much for the opponents in Portugal.
There were several wonderful performances as a result but one that really stood out was from Roberto Firmino. Primarily because he didn’t start the game and only got 23 minutes here.
But we think he did more than enough to earn a start against Manchester City this weekend.
Firmino to start vs City?
Liverpool have one major problem without Firmino in the side – they lose a link between midfield and attack. The Reds play without attacking midfielders, meaning they rely on a ‘False 9’ to drop deep and move between the lines.
Firmino does that wonderfully. Diogo Jota, not so much.
You can see that in their passing stats, in fact. Jota completed 25 passes in 88 minutes, Firmino 11 in 23 minutes. The Brazilian would have finished without around 40 over a full 90.
Now, the trade-off is usually that Jota is more of a goal threat. He doesn’t spend as often playing between the lines and instead focuses on getting near the goal and running in behind
Firmino, though, did that expertly against Porto and finished with two goals. One came from a run in behind, the other a poacher’s effort after a deflected shot.
It’s enough for us to say that Firmino should start on Sunday. He appeared to be in fantastic form on Tuesday evening, scoring his two goals and even winning two tackles in his 23 minutes.
The Brazilian is fresher than anyone else in the squad, looks to be in fine form, and Liverpool look complete with him leading the line. In a huge game against City, it might be time to call back Firmino to the starting XI.
Perhaps that’s a straight swap with Jota or maybe a change of formation. Either way, Firmino earned a start.