Roberto Firmino picked up an ‘unfortunate’ injury this week and it’s one that highlights a problem in the Liverpool squad. What can the Reds do from here?
Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Friday that Roberto Firmino has a ‘serious’ hamstring issue. The Brazilian went off early against Atletico Madrid with the issue.
“Bobby is not good news with a serious hamstring injury, really unfortunate,” said Klopp, per Liverpoolfc.com.
“We don’t know exactly how long he will be out but it will be not now after the international break directly. We have to work on that.”
Now, the immediate fix is obvious. Diogo Jota retains his place as a centre-forward and Liverpool still look strong. Yes, they’re down a top forward but they still have three left over.
On the face of it, all is fine and there’s squad depth there. But it’s not as easy as that.
Injury highlights Liverpool squad problem
An injury to Firmino is a particularly difficult one to deal with as the player is so unique. There’s not really another Firmino anywhere, let alone in Liverpool’s squad.
He drops deep as a False 9, runs constantly and drags defenders around. Firmino also creates a link between the lines for midfield passes, which is largely how Liverpool get forward.
Jota is a wonderful goalscorer but he’s nowhere near as good at the other stuff. He looks to play off the shoulder and get in behind as a goal-threat, rather than link play.
He’s great at that, of course, but it means Liverpool need to come up with other ways to create space. We saw one of those against Atletico Madrid as the Reds created virtually everything with a right-sided triangle.
That’s a good plan but it leaves them quite one-dimensional and lop-sided. With Firmino in the side, Liverpool have both options. Without him, they only really have one.
And so this injury shows a hole in the squad. There’s no real backup to Firmino and he’s out for any length of time, Liverpool are short.
It’s something they must address. Either a new Firmino-esque player needs to come in or a current talent needs a slight retooling.
Either way, it’s a problem the Reds must fix.