Is this Brazilian midfielder the man who can bring Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool success?
Since Jurgen Klopp took charge of Liverpool just over a month ago, there have already been quite a number of changes under the German’s management. Klopp has brought in his own backroom staff to help him attempt to replicate his success at Borussia Dortmund, while also introducing his well renowned ‘heavy metal football’.
It is a style of football that was attempted by his predecessor Brendan Rodgers at Anfield, a style that really, was not very successful during his three years on Merseyside. Granted, Rodgers was agonisingly close to clinching Liverpool’s first title in 24 years, until that infamous moment where it slipped (sorry Liverpool fans) out of their clutches. However, he could never really deploy the right tactics, and consistently changing the line-up between games upset the balance of the team.
Klopp though, has kept a fairly consistent starting XI since taking the Anfield hot seat, and it has started to pay dividends, as the latest win against Manchester City proves. Liverpool completely outplayed oil rich City, and as a result took their biggest win under Klopp’s management. There were a number of key players in that win, but one man in particular that stood out from the crowd was Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian joined the Reds in the summer transfer window prior to the current season for £29 million and had struggled to make an impact under Rodgers.
Under Klopp though, he seems to be a transformed player. There are a few reasons for this which are quite apparent. Firstly, he fits into Klopp’s system a lot better than he did during Rodgers’ tenure. While he was played as a winger under Rodgers, Klopp has played him in the number 10 role, behind the lone striker.
Another secret of Firmino’s recent success is down to the link up play between himself and fellow Brazilian Phillippe Coutinho. With the duo now both fully match fit, Klopp has been able to unleash the potential of playing both tricksters together, and already there is the start of a strong partnership, as witnessed at the Etihad last weekend.
As with Sturridge and Suarez, Firmino and Coutinho have clicked very quickly and the pair have an understanding, which has clearly come down to hours on the training ground and the tactics employed by Klopp. It may be early days yet, but the Liverpool faithful saw glimpses of that potential against Manchester City, with Firmino’s pinpoint through ball setting up Coutinho for the second goal of the game.
The question though is this. Should the Liverpool fans look to him for success under Jurgen Klopp? It is perhaps a little too early to say, as new signings at any club need time to settle in, and it would be very unfair to judge Firmino’s capabilities after just two months in English football.
Having said that, it is clear that he is starting to flourish with the guidance of Klopp, as are the rest of the Liverpool squad. As we’ve already mentioned, he and Coutinho have started to show the potential of a deadly and creative partnership, and if you throw in the capabilities of the club’s strikers; such as Christian Benteke and Daniel Sturridge, then there is even more potential for Klopp’s Liverpool team.
Another factor that needs to be considered is that Firmino is not well known for his goal-scoring capabilities. While Coutinho has been getting his name on the score sheet fairly regularly in the last few matches, Firmino registered his first goal for the club in the recent win over Manchester City. Basing it off just goals alone, then it would seem strange for Liverpool to look to Firmino for success in the immediate future. However, we have also established that he is very good at assisting goals, which is where his strengths lie and what Klopp will be using to his advantage during his time at Anfield.
What we also need to remember is that football is a team sport, and, while many teams have one or two crucial players, it is down to all 11 players to go out and get success. Therefore, Liverpool pinning all their hopes on Firmino also seems unfair when there are 10 other players around him who are responsible for getting the results.
There is no doubt that Firmino is a player of immense natural talent; something we are finally starting to see, and he can be an instrumental part of Liverpool’s success, but the fans cannot look just to him for success under Jurgen Klopp. Combine Firmino with Coutinho, Sturridge, Benteke, Milner, Can, and Henderson to name a few, then all of them combined are who Liverpool should look to in order to achieve success this season.
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