Roberto Firmino didn't quite need resurrecting over Easter, but he’s certainly been enlivened nonetheless. Having endured a spell of one goal in 10 before last week, he was part of a heroic half-time rescue act at Stoke, sent on alongside Philippe Coutinho to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win, his thunderous volley the game’s decisive moment. And on Saturday he slinked in at the back post to seal the win against West Brom and resolve another tight meeting against the sort of pesky mid-rankers who have plagued Liverpool’s season.
In one sense, Firmino’s Easter reflected his first two years in England: his two performances were tireless, tactically astute and peppered with moments of class. In another, though, it was something of an anomaly: he may have scored two in two, but over the last two years he’s averaged a steady one in three – a figure which holds firm throughout his five seasons at Hoffenheim, too.
To say this presents Jurgen Klopp with a problem would be wrong. With 69 goals so far this term, Liverpool are the Premier League’s most prolific scorers, having netted a faintly staggering 21 more than Manchester United and fully treble the tally of Middlesbrough. When Klopp and his coaching staff come to discuss fine-tuning the team for next season, the output of its attack will not feature too high on their list of worries.
Yet that’s not to say there is no room for improvement. Because for all the tactical shifts of recent years towards multifaceted attacks and false nines, the idea of a centre-forward who only sometimes introduces the ball to the net remains fairly incongruous at the very top level. Both the sides thrashing it out for the title boast strikers, in Harry Kane and Diego Costa, whose tallies are among the four best in the league; Manchester United loom in Liverpool’s rear-view mirrors largely thanks to the goals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (joint fourth in the standings); while Arsenal’s early-season upturn came when the erratic Olivier Giroud was dropped in favour of Alexis Sanchez (third). Firmino’s tally, in contrast, sits below a total of 13 other Premier League players, including Joshua King and Son Heung-min.
And to mangle the old line, Firmino is neither is big scorer of goals nor a scorer of big goals – Liverpool’s unbeaten record against the rest of the top six this season is well documented, but of the 17 goals scored in those games, the Brazilian has contributed just one.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Should Klopp be worried about Firmino's strike rate this season?