Aug 13, 2017
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Analysing Roberto Firmino’s opening day performance against Watford

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It was a great start of the season for Roberto Firmino as he managed to contribute a goal and an assist as Liverpool drew with Watford. The Reds will be disappointed with the point, but their incredible attack was on display for all to see. They will be one of the leading attacks again this season and the 25-year-old is a huge part of why it has been so successful under Jurgen Klopp. He has adjusted well to his new role as a centre forward and will take a lot of confidence from his display in Hertfordshire.

Firmino got the team’s second equaliser from the penalty spot. He never looked like missing when he was preparing to take it and he dispatched it confidently past the Heurelho Gomes. The Brazilian international is a good finisher, but that isn’t where his strengths lie. Since moving to this role, he has shown himself to be an intelligent player in the final third, as he regularly creates space for others to exploit. Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are quick and excellent at timing their runs into dangerous positions. The movement of Firmino allows them to do the damage.

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During the match at Vicarage Road, the 25-year-old also got the assist for Liverpool’s third. There will be much debate about whether he meant it or not, but he chipped the keeper and found Salah who tapped it into the net. Although the forward was probably going for goal, he put the ball into a threatening position and it led to a goal. He can’t be criticised for that.

The most important role that Firmino has to play is to bring others into the game and he did that on Saturday. He completed two key passes and was at the centre of everything that Liverpool did in the final third. The one disappointment was his passing, as he was wasteful with possession at times, displayed by his pass success rate of 63%. This is underwhelming for a player with his quality, but it was the first day of the season. If this becomes a consistent theme throughout the season, then it will be a big concern.

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Saturday wasn’t only impressive due to his performance, but his mentality on the pitch. The uncertainty over the future of Philippe Coutinho could have made it difficult for the players. Firmino stepped up and showed himself to be an individual that his team-mates look to for inspiration, especially in attack. If his compatriot does leave, he has the potential to take his game to a new level.

This could be a breakout year for Firmino as there is the opportunity for him to establish himself as one of the league’s best players. Jurgen Klopp has made him a central part of the Liverpool team and the player has bought into the style. He works tirelessly for his manager when he presses the opposition and that was another element of his game that was impressive on Saturday. There is more to come from the Brazilian, but he started his own season well against Watford.

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Jake Jackman

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.