Sadio Mane has heaped praise on fellow attacker Roberto Firmino and says that he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.
It is understandable that Mane and Mohamed Salah get the majority of the credit for Liverpool’s glittering attacking performances, but Firmino still doesn’t get the praise he warrants.
Supporters understand his value to the team and yet many of us are guilty of dreaming of what the Reds would be like if they had a centre forward like Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappe.
It is normal to wonder as both scored over 40 goals last season, but the role that Firmino plays for Liverpool in creating space for Mane and Salah is underappreciated.
Not by Mane, however, as the Senegalese forward waxed lyrical about his teammate to the official Liverpool matchday programme.
He said: “I think that is part of football, where people always speak about the players who are scoring the goals but I have always said – and I will say it again – that without Firmino we wouldn’t be the same.
“In the five years I have been playing with him you can see how many passes and how many assists he has provided and then you can look at his defensive work for us too and his work between the lines to make the space for us to make everything easier. So I think he is unbelievable.
“We know ourselves how good Bobby is and how important he is for us but it’s sometimes only after a hat-trick that more people will talk. But certainly within the squad we know that he is one of the best players in the world.”
Despite not scoring as much as Salah and Mane, the Brazilian has scored 11 goals for club and country this season and he is certainly performing at close to his best again.
It’s fantastic to see both Mane and Firmino at their sharpest again after they dipped well below their best last season. However, given the injuries the squad suffered, it was to be expected that some players would struggle.
A key factor in Firmino’s revival has to be the competition provided by Diogo Jota and, while his form has dipped slightly in the last month, it is healthy for the squad for players to be pushing each other to new heights.