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How good can Liverpool's Roberto Firmino become this season?

How good can Liverpool's Roberto Firmino become this season?

Roberto Firmino started quite badly at Liverpool. After convincing the club to spend £29 million to bring him over from Hoffenheim, the Brazilian struggled to settle under Brendan Rodgers and looked as if he may become a flop. It took him 13 games to notch his first goal for the Reds, a tap in at the Etihad Stadium, before a turn in form in the new year saw him finish as his club’s top scorer in the Premier League with an impressive tally of ten.

Now he has settled in England and recovered from his poor start, Firmino is starting to look like one of the best attacking talents in the league. He showcased his talents to the full in Liverpool’s 4-1 demolition of champions Leicester, scoring his first goals of the season, and one wonders just how good a season the talented forward can have.

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Everything about Firmino’s performance against Leicester hinted to a continuation and perhaps an improvement on the incredible form he has shown in 2016 so far. His first goal was taken beautifully, collecting James Milner’s pass in his stride, simultaneously bamboozling Wes Morgan with his quick feet, before a clever reverse finish that left Kasper Schmeichel stranded and Robert Huth nutmegged.

The nutmegs and reverse passes were not just isolated to Firmino’s goals, though, as Liverpool’s ebullient attack pulled the champions all over the place and opened them up at will. The Brazilian was at the heart of all of it, coming out wide and dropping deep to link up play, benefitting massively from having the pace of Daniel Sturridge and Sadio Mane running in behind to create more space for him to play.

There were also plenty of instances of jaw-dropping skill. A high ball on the penalty area was killed dead on the top of his foot by Firmino. On another occasion he rolled the ball under his feet at least four times on the crowded edge of the penalty area, refusing to cede possession thanks to his excellent skill. It is a trait that sees him play successfully for the Reds as both an attacking midfielder and the more unfamiliar role of centre forward.

That gives Klopp the problem of choosing where to play Firmino. Sadio Mane has appeared to have nailed down his spot on the right wing thanks to his terrifying pace. Philippe Coutinho normally plays from the left, creating numerous chances cutting in from his wing. Daniel Sturridge is the club’s best finisher, and showed real signs of becoming a team player and fitting with Klopp’s high pressing system on Saturday.

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But Firmino is in no danger of being dropped. Coutinho may grab the headlines with jaw dropping long range shots, but his Brazilian teammate is just as good, if not a better creative force. As for Sturridge, he may be a slightly better finisher than the number 11, but other than pace there is very little the Englishman possesses that Firmino doesn’t.

Firmino then fits perfectly into the Liverpool side. He is creative, he can finish and he plays selflessly, working hard for the team. His range of ball control, energy, finishing ability and vision are a rare mix, and at 24 he has the potential to get even better. He already looks even more supreme than at the back end of last season, and he could well be a player who bags 20 goals over the course of the season. If Liverpool are to get back into the Champions League, this man will certainly play a massive part.

Featured Image: All rights reserved by Anfield BR

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