Analysing Roberto Firmino's match-winning contribution against Swansea
Liverpool came from behind to triumph against a resolute Swansea City side in what could be a crucial result come the end of the season. The one loss to Burnley aside, Liverpool have been excellent and they are emerging as real contenders for a top four spot. Roberto Firmino has been central to the side since the appointment of Jurgen Klopp and he was impressive once again on Saturday. The Brazilian attacker scored the equalising goal, which capped off a good display.
He continues to grow into his role as a false nine and a great deal of his contributions go unnoticed by many – not his manager of course. Firmino excels at creating space for others with his intelligent movement in the final third. Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane have perhaps caught the eye more than Liverpool’s number 11, but they will be the first to state how important their team-mate has been for their own form. That was evident on Saturday, as Firmino was pulling the centre-backs out of position, allowing others to get on the ball in promising positions.
Although he isn’t an out-and-out striker, Firmino is beginning to become a bigger goal threat and his goal reflected that. He managed to stay onside and took advantage of hesitancy in the Swansea defence. It was a smart finish as he put the ball past Lukasz Fabianski and provided his side with the confidence to go on and win the game. The 24-year-old has a superb mentality and has added consistency to his game over the last 12 months.
The Reds were poor in the first half and it would have been easy for Firmino to fade out of the game. However, instead he stepped up when his side needed him most and that will be encouraging for supporters.
Since moving to England, Firmino has become much better in the air and that is crucial considering he is leading the line for Liverpool. In the match on Saturday, he won two aerial duels and showed his impressive upper body strength on a number of occasions. Klopp doesn’t want his side to use long balls often, but it is important that the option is there. If a centre forward isn’t able to compete in the air, it makes them much easier to defend against and limits the attacking threat that they pose. Although it is far from the best part of his game, it is continuing to improve and he deserves credit for that.
One area that was slightly under par on Saturday was his passing, as he gave the ball away carelessly on a number of occasions, especially in the first half. The entire team performed poorly in the opening 45 minutes and it was obvious that the players were nervy when they were on the ball. As the game progressed, Firmino became better in possession and was influencing the game much more.
The Brazilian international also had a hand in the winner, as he drew the foul for the penalty. It displayed his movement and ability to manoeuvre the ball quickly in tight spaces. Firmino himself may have been disappointed with his overall performance, but he was highly influential in both goals and showed that he can make match-winning contributions even when he isn’t at his best. That is a quality that marks the best players in the league from the rest. Firmino is now establishing himself in the top tier of players in the Premier League and this performance confirmed that.
Featured image: All rights reserved by ryannines14
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