Liverpool player has been 'insane' under Klopp but now looks like third-choice in his own position - RTK View

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Liverpool player has been 'insane' under Klopp but now looks like third-choice in his own position - RTK View

Roberto Firmino now appears to be third-choice in his own position at Liverpool. The Brazilian is finding some real competition for places.

Liverpool beat Manchester City 3-2 on Saturday, putting them into the FA Cup final. It’s a massive result – the latest in a string of those. The Reds continue to compete on three fonts, after all.

Sadio Mané really caught the eye here. He scored twice – once through a fantastic press on Zack Steffan, then through a magnificent finish. Notably, it came in the False 9 role, which Mané has been playing very well of late.

It was a surprise to see him there, in truth. We predicted either Roberto Firmino or Diogo Jota would start in the role for Liverpool but this was the biggest sign yet that Klopp really like Mané there. So much that he left both of his usual centre-forwards on the bench here.

That wasn’t too surprising in Firmino’s case. He played 90 minutes against Benfica in midweek – the only forward to play more than 66. But Jota had gone off early in that one, seemingly setting him up to start here.

But no. Klopp went with Mané in the role for a huge game, putting Luis Diaz out left. And with that, it seems Firmino is now third-choice in his own role.

Roberto Firmino at Liverpool

That False 9 role exists because Firmino has perfected it over his time with Liverpool. The Reds built their attack around it, with pacey wingers taking advantage of his movements – let alone the pressing he delivers.

But in three big games now, Klopp has gone with Jota and Mané there instead. Firmino was available – as far as we know – and Liverpool instead went with other options.

Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

We know how much Klopp values Firmino, too. He labelled him ‘insane’ earlier in the campaign and claims you could write a book on how he plays his role.

So the fact that Firmino now appears to be third-choice in that role, or at least is in these big games, is quite something. Especially with his contract expiring in 2023.

What does the future look like for the Brazilian? Because as things stand, he’s got a fight on just to win his place back.

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