Roberto Firmino was the match-winner for Liverpool once again in their most recent outing, but John Aldridge says the Brazilian’s form remains a “mystery” as he waits on a first Premier League goal of the season at Anfield.
Away from home, the South American has rediscovered his touch in some style of late.
On the back of a slow start to the 2019-20 campaign, a successful Club World Cup campaign proved to be the turning point for Firmino.
Having helped Liverpool to a first global title with decisive efforts in the last four and final, the 27-year-old has since bagged a brace against Leicester in the Premier League and a solitary effort away at Tottenham.
Firmino is, however, yet to find the target on home soil, with arch-rivals Manchester United due to pay a visit to Merseyside on Sunday.
Former Reds striker Aldridge has told the Irish Independent of a surprising record: “One mystery for me this season has been the form of Roberto Firmino and his goal added another layer to the confusion. Firmino is still waiting for his first Premier League goal at Anfield and appears to have entirely different confidence levels in away matches.
“He has popped up with some of the most significant goals in Liverpool’s season with the winners at Southampton, Chelsea and Crystal Palace, as well as scoring the goals that secured the FIFA World Club Cup.
“Yet when I have watched him at Anfield this season, he has looked like a player horribly out of tune and struggling for confidence.
“That is a bizarre position to be in for a player who is such a crucial part of this incredible team Klopp has pieced together, with his goal at Tottenham fired home with impressive authority.
“He smashed that chance past Spurs keeper Paulo Gazzaniga to give Liverpool a lead against predictably defensive-minded Jose Mourinho team.
“It was a finish of a striker who had full belief in his abilities and I suspect that if the same chance came his way at Anfield, he may well have fluffed his lines.”
Liverpool will be hoping that Firmino can break his Anfield duck against United, with Aldridge looking for a record-breaking outfit to raise their game again as a collective and surge towards the finishing post in a Premier League title bid.
He added: “Sloppy is not a word you would have attached to this Liverpool side too often over the last 18 months, but some of the defensive errors that gave Spurs hope were not what you associate with a side that has won with ruthless efficiency in the last year and more.
“With their noses in front, Klopp would have expected his team to control the game a little better than they did in the second half and had Son Heung-min or Giovani Lo Celso taken their big chances in the final 15 minutes of the game, who knows what might have happened.
“Liverpool are a few steps ahead of their rivals in the Premier League this season and that has given this side an aura and a self-belief that has been crucial in taking them into this dominant position.
“Now they have to make sure they finish off the job and get over the finishing line, with the target of finishing this campaign unbeaten in the Premier League very much in their sights with 17 games left to play.
“What this Liverpool team are doing is far from normal and the results we have seen for all their title rivals this season reminds us of that.”