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What Jurgen Klopp did after Roberto Firmino substitution shows Liverpool question finally answered

Jurgen Klopp (R) embraces Roberto Firmino (L) as he is substituted during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at Anfield.

 

 

Of Liverpool’s fabled front three in recent years, Roberto Firmino has continued to be the individual who goes under the radar.

 

Mohamed Salah has found it hard to stay out of the headlines ever since his arrival at the club in the summer of 2017 while it was the turn of Sadio Mane to become the centre of attention in recent months as his transfer to Bayern Munich played out in the media.

 

For Firmino, however, he has remained a player who has quietly gone about his business both on and off the pitch. It could be argued the Brazilian’s performances have attracted less attention to that of Mane and Salah, but the influence of the former Hoffenheim man is certainly not lost on Jurgen Klopp.

 

When reports from Italy began linking the forward with a move to Juventus last month, the Reds’ boss made clear of Liverpool’s stance on a possible sale. “Bobby is crucial for us, the heart and soul of this team, the way we played in the last years was only possible because of Bobby,” he said.

Firmino’s contribution to the evolution of Liverpool in recent years cannot be underestimated, but a gradual drop off in attacking contributions has resulted in the likes of Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz becoming preferred options as part of a three-man forward line.

 

An injury to Jota and three-match suspension for new arrival Darwin Nunez has provided Liverpool’s No. 9 with another opportunity to prove he remains a valuable member of the squad at the start of this campaign, but his performances against both Fulham and Manchester United were anything but inspiring.

 

Dropping too deep in the Reds’ half against United in particular, his influence was particularly limited and questions were asked by some as to whether or not Firmino could still hit the heights of years gone by.

 

As is often the case with players of supreme quality, though, they find a way to issue a response at the perfect time. There were no guarantees Liverpool would get back to their best against Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon after three lacklustre displays, but they were able to lay any doubts to rest courtesy of a resounding result.

 

Key to this being achieved was none other than Firmino, who had a hand in five of the nine goals scored by Liverpool. After teeing up the first three goalscorers, Diaz, Harvey Elliott and Trent Alexander-Arnold, the Samba star got in on the act himself for the time during a league contest at Anfield since December 2020.

 

Things improved for Firmino after the break as he bagged his second of the afternoon, and 100th in a Liverpool shirt, reacting quickest inside the area after goalkeeper Mark Travers made a mess of a teasing ball into the area.

 

Firmino’s afternoon was over in the 70th minute as James Milner came on in his place. Klopp wasted little to hand out one of his trademark hugs for the departing forward, who issued a timely reminder of his talent to those inside Anfield.

 

 

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