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Klopp’s tinkering with Firmino’s role has led to striking struggles he must now solve

(Alan Martin/Action Plus via Getty Images)


Klopp’s tinkering with Firmino’s role has led to striking struggles he must now solve

One of the major challenges Liverpool were always going to face this season was what to do if their opponents improved their ability to defend against their high-tempo attacking style.

That flying 4-3-3 is irresistible at times, but Jurgen Klopp’s side can struggle against deeper-lying defences and the German had two choices.

He could either fine-tune that approach, doubling down with it and ensuring that opponents simply couldn’t live with it, or he could adjust his setup and at times he has chosen to do the latter.

Combined with the need to get Mo Salah into more goalscoring positions, that meant at times moving Roberto Firmino into a number 10 position, with the Egyptian as the nominal forward.

(Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

The switch has helped Salah rediscover his goalscoring touch but consequently, Firmino has gone off the boil somewhat.


The Brazilian is of course more than capable of playing just off the front but the change of role from week to week has undoubtedly impacted his rhythm.

He is generally happy to play a support role, but moving away from the centre-forward position to help Salah out might have niggled him slightly.

But more importantly, it is difficult to be charged with adding guile and subtlety in the number 10 role one week and then go and give a full-blooded striker’s performance the week after.

To get Firmino back to his best, Klopp must again use him as a false nine in that rapid 4-3-3, because the shapeshifting is harming the number nine’s form.

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