Sky Sports pundit Danny Higginbotham has said that Roberto Firmino can create the space for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to resume his role as a rampaging central midfielder.
Higginbotham drew similarities between what Philippe Coutinho was doing at Anfield and what the £120,000-a-week (Spotrac) Englishman will be capable of now he’s back to fitness.
On Sky Sports, he said: “Firmino likes to drop deep so there’s going to be space in behind for Oxlade-Chamberlain. Oxlade-Chamberlain, before he got his injury, was taking that position up.
“I’m not comparing him to Coutinho, but that was what Coutinho was doing to a certain extent, with players in front of him – in particular Firmino – who would drop deep. Centre backs would come out and they’d get beyond the midfield, and that’s what Oxlade-Chamberlain is capable of.”
TBR’s View – Chamberlain can combine energy and attacking thrust
The first requirement for Liverpool’s central midfield players is that they have the energy to get across the pitch, covering the spaces left by the aggressive positioning of the forwards and press like Jurgen Klopp demands.
But there was a criticism last season that the options in there lacked a bit of attacking flair, especially in matches against packed defences.
Oxlade-Chamberlain does not have the guile of Coutinho, but he is arguably the most attack-minded of the central midfield options Klopp has, capable of scoring goals from the engine room.