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Why Liverpool's Roberto Firmino must start against Atletico Madrid

While he was somewhat subdued against Brighton, Roberto Firmino must start against Atletico Madrid as he could play a key role in winning the game for the Reds.

Jurgen Klopp’s men have done a terrific job in Europe this season and are in the best position to secure qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

If Liverpool beat Diego Simeone’s side on Wednesday they will secure a place in the Round of 16, but anything less will not be enough so the competition at Anfield will be fierce.

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With the La Liga side likely to be riled up after their 3-2 defeat at home to the Reds in the previous fixture, Klopp’s side needs to be defensively sound and that starts from the very front.

Diogo Jota is a fantastic player but he’s not as good at tracking back or pressing from the front as Firmino and Liverpool need the Brazilian’s diligence to provide the space for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

The former was kept quiet by Brighton although he did have a goal disallowed for offside and so, after his recent goal-scoring exploits, he will be desperate for a goal at Anfield.

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Firmino, who joined the club for £28m, has two goals in the Champions League this season and I think if he starts he will get a third. This is a prediction based on nothing more than intuition but the former Hoffenheim star has rediscovered his goal-scoring boots this season.

For club and country, the Selecao striker has scored and assisted 12 goals and looks to be back in Klopp’s strongest starting XI and so he should start when Liverpool’s La Liga opponents visit Merseyside this week.

Predicted lineup: 4-3-3: Alisson; Robbo, van Dijk, Konate, Trent; Hendo, Curtis, Chamberlain; Mane, Salah, Firmino.

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