No complaints from Roberto Firmino over ever-changing role for Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp

Karl Matchett
The Independent
Roberto Firmino of Liverpool celebrating: Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Roberto Firmino of Liverpool celebrating: Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Roberto Firmino is one of the first names on the team-sheet for Jurgen Klopp, as the manager bids to end Liverpool‘s long wait for a 19th league title.

The Brazilian forward mixes attacking intent with defensive work rate, a key combination which makes him the ideal fit to lead the line in a high-pressing and free-scoring team.

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While his presence in the lineup is never contested, the actual role he fills on the pitch has been subject to change.

Nominally the team’s centre-forward, Firmino at times operates in a deeper capacity to allow the wide forwards, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, to attack through the middle – and last season started as a true No. 10 during a brief switch to a 4-2-3-1 system.

Whatever the position, Firmino’s selflessness and awareness of his team-mates make him critical to Liverpool’s approach, as is highlighted by the fact he has more assists than goals so far this season – seven to three so far across all competitions. And the Brazilian doesn’t mind in the slightest where Klopp wants him to play, instead choosing to sacrifice his own chances of scoring for the greater good of the team.

“That is just me, my personality, to try to be a good and humble guy,” Firmino told Premier League Productions.

“To try to help my team in the best way with assists and goals. I like that, I like to win all the time, and for that I will always be like this.

“I am a guy who respects my position on the pitch. Where the team needs me, I will play. As a No. 9, but sometimes I play as a No. 10, and I try to give my best.

“I always want to help my team as best as I can and to always be chasing the win, always winning games. That is what matters the most.”

Firmino credits much of his standing at the club to manager Klopp, who immediately made him a key figure after taking over in 2015.

Firmino and Klopp embrace for Liverpool (Getty Images)
Firmino and Klopp embrace for Liverpool (Getty Images)

Prior to that, the Reds’ No. 9 was often used out of position in a wide role, or even left on the bench, by Brendan Rodgers.

Since swapping Bundesliga for Premier League, though, Firmino feels he has improved in each major area of the game.

“I think I improved a lot in every way: physically, tactically, mentally, I learned a bit of every aspect.

“But I do not want to stop here. I want to keep improving – I always want more, I have big goals, I want to keep winning titles with this club and that is it.

“I am never tired of praising Klopp.

“He has so many good things on and off the pitch. He really helps us on a daily basis, we learn so much from him in every way.

“He is able to have the team with him. We have been doing things well and learning a lot from him, and we have been showing on the pitch that we can grow more and more each day and do our best.”

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