Roberto Firmino is rarely mentioned in discussions of the best 9 in the world, but his coach Jurgen Klopp considers him the starting point of all Liverpool’s success since 2015.
The disinterested Brazilian is the polar opposite of Manchester United’s celebrated center forward Cristiano Ronaldo, in what will be a fascinating contrast of styles when they sell out at Old Trafford.
However, no one in the Anfield dressing room would trade their Bobby right now, not even for a multiple Ballon d’Or winner.
Roberto Firmino has five goals and an assist to his name in his last four Liverpool appearances
The Brazilian’s style of play could not contrast more directly with that of Cristiano Ronaldo
‘He is a connector; the best offensive defender I have ever seen. A very important player for us’, praises Klopp about his special striker.
“He’s a ball catcher, incredibly tactically smart and capable of playing in the smallest of spaces; to make good decisions in a really fast time.
“And on top of that, he can score goals, which is why we are so happy when he rewards himself from time to time, like the hat-trick he got at Watford.”
By happy coincidence, Ronaldo and Firmino each played their 300th game for their current clubs last week.
The couple branded it with their own trademark. Ronaldo leapt to score United’s goal and grab the headlines, Firmino outnumbered any Liverpool player to lay the groundwork for his impressive 3-2 win over Atlético Madrid.
In his best scoring season, Firmino scored 27 goals as Liverpool reached the Champions League final in 2018.
Goals have dried up relatively since then – he failed to reach double figures last season, but Klopp knows that without Firmino, Mo Salah would not be a regular contender for the Golden Boot, for example.
“Everyone loves it when Bobby scores because sometimes you think he lacks praise for the effort he puts in,” Klopp adds.
“He is a brilliant player and it is really a pleasure to work with him. It’s not impossible to play our way without him because we have options, but when we started this years ago it was because Bobby could play the part. So he was very influential in all the things we did. ‘
Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for his forward and how much he means to the team.
The modern soccer world is often ego-based and Salah is starting to receive the kind of massive acclaim that Ronaldo and Messi have had throughout their careers.
However, top managers like Klopp know that locker room harmony also depends on those players adored by all. N’Golo Kante plays that role at Chelsea and at Anfield he is Firmino.
He is one of the few survivors of the pre-Klopp era and remains one of the first names on the team sheet ever since, even when goals were sold out.
He scored twice in Liverpool’s 4-2 win at Old Trafford last season, which should ensure he gets the nod.
Everybody loves Bobby; All the team. How could you not? says Klopp. ‘He is very positive and, at least with me, a very calm person.
“ Even if he was not a good person, the midfielders would love him because he is doing all the work for them.
Firmino has teamed up with Sadio Mane and Mo Salah in recent seasons
‘Obviously Mo and Sadio [Mane] love him because he passes the ball to them; the last or penultimate pass.
‘He chases the opposition players, sets traps. Our last line loves it. Him and ali [goalkeeper Alisson] They are best friends.’
Firmino’s famous smile appears first on the scene every time a colleague scores and team celebrations take on an extra sense of fun when he is the one who puts the ball into the net. “When he scores, there is always a little extra joy because there are always discussions outside the club that Bobby is not scoring enough,” explains Klopp.
‘We never have them inside the club. I wouldn’t play if it wasn’t incredibly important anyway. ‘
Klopp’s only victory at Old Trafford came last season when the stadium was empty.
But the ground will be jumping this time, especially as a Liverpool title this season would see them equal United’s all-time record of 20. In that sense, coming out of a frenzied atmosphere in Madrid with a win on Tuesday night will have been good. handy for visitors.
Klopp’s team beat Manchester United 4-2 at Old Trafford last season but had no fans
Sometimes I couldn’t even understand my thoughts, it was so strong. It was absolutely incredible, ”Klopp admits. “The atmosphere is always great for United at Old Trafford, but it’s also about the game.
‘Obviously our job is to be really good there. To play the best soccer possible, we ignore or even use the crowd.
Our visiting fans will also be there. I will never complain about having to play an away game at Old Trafford. ‘ Klopp is well aware that despite United’s inconsistency, they have the firepower to hurt anyone. This is not just about Ronaldo, but also about Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood, although the Liverpool manager suggested there is not enough room for everyone.
“Jadon Sancho is a world-class talent, definitely, and he has everything you need to become one of the best players in the world in the future.
The Liverpool manager offered a few words of encouragement to United winger Jadon Sancho
“But he’s still very young,” adds Klopp, who used to run Sancho’s former club Borussia Dortmund.
“ In Dortmund they were full of praise for him, with good reason. I saw a lot of games where he played extraordinarily well.
‘Don’t forget the options United has in your position, people lose patience a bit quickly. Mason Greenwood, what a talent you are.
Mason can play in the center but there is no more room, so maybe they share. It is a problem that you want as a manager, one hundred percent.
“So everything will be fine for Jadon, we just hope not on Sunday.”