Did Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrate this Adam Lallana strike a little too soon?

Sean Gibson
He may have seen it happen, but could Firmino bring himself to believe that Lallana could have possibly missed?

Roberto Firmino appeared to be halfway into a goal celebration in Sunday's match against Manchester City when he suffered the horrifying realisation that team-mate Adam Lallana had not actually scored.

Few would have expected the England midfielder to miss after Firmino had neatly steered a clipped though-ball into his path – but with the keeper at his mercy, from only eight yards, Lallana could only rake his studs over the bouncing ball.

As Man City keeper Willy Caballero gratefully gathered, Firmino was sliding over the byline towards the travelling Liverpool support with his arms outstretched.

When a cheer was not forthcoming, there was no choice but to get to his feet and play on.

But was Liverpool's Brazilian forward actually celebrating?

Lallana will be pleased that replays of his embarrassing miss have taken the focus away from him, sparking a lively debate over whether Firmino was celebrating or, in fact, lamenting the missed opportunity.

Even if Firmino did see Lallana's miss, we could hardly blame him for refusing to believe his eyes; the bona fide sitter looked easier to score than to spurn.

Firmino sees Lallana scuff his shot - but then appears to smile as he takes to his knees, before looking much more dismayed after a second glance back

The miss meant the game ended as it stood then, in the 81st minute, with a score of 1-1 – helping neither Man City's nor Liverpool's fast-receding hopes of chasing down Chelsea in the Premier League title race. The two are 12 and 13 points adrift respectively of Antonio Conte's league leaders, each with a significantly inferior goal difference.

Lallana has enjoyed the most fruitful of his three league campaigns in front of goal for Liverpool, netting seven in 24 appearances thus far, and remains on course to rise above the high-water mark of nine that he set in 2013-14 with Southampton.

 

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