Pundit picks out improved Liverpool ace who could have ‘huge’ impact on their season

·3-min read
Joe Gomez and Roberto Firmino Credit: PA Images
Joe Gomez and Roberto Firmino Credit: PA Images

Match of the Day and talkSPORT pundit Danny Murphy has praised Roberto Firmino, backing the Liverpool forward to ‘have a huge say’ in which trophies the Reds win this season.

Firmino made 35 appearances in all competitions last term, though only 20 of those came in the Premier League. The Brazilian often had to sit on the bench amid competition for places from the likes of Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota.

Things looked even worse for Firmino when Darwin Nunez arrived from Benfica earlier this summer to replace Mane.

Liverpool spent an initial £64million on Nunez, which may rise to £85m through bonuses. Due to this massive outlay, Jurgen Klopp is expected to play the new arrival in most games.

However, Nunez was sent off during the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on August 15. His suspension saw Firmino come into the starting eleven for the subsequent 2-1 loss to Manchester United.

While Firmino didn’t have the desired impact at Old Trafford, he was brilliant against Bournemouth on Saturday.

The former Hoffenheim man got two goals and three assists, helping Klopp’s side complete a famous 9-0 victory at Anfield.

The brace saw Firmino reach 100 goals for Liverpool in his 331st game for them. Plus, the Reds equalled the biggest ever win in a Premier League match.

Firmino will surely keep his place in the starting eleven when Liverpool host Newcastle United in the league on Wednesday night. That will be the final game of Nunez’s three-match suspension.

But once the Uruguayan returns, he may find it hard to get ahead of Firmino in the pecking order.

Murphy excited by Roberto Firmino return to form

During an appearance on talkSPORT, Murphy sung the praises of the Liverpool hero.

“I think it [the Bournemouth brace] gave everyone a reminder of his quality,” Murphy said (via Liverpool Echo).

“Last season his confidence dropped a bit with the signings of Jota and [Luis] Diaz. He started to feel a little bit unloved and he wasn’t quite at it compared to years gone by.

“But what he’s achieved in a Liverpool shirt will never be forgotten. I still think he can have a big impact, and the great thing about Firmino being fit and hungry is that it means you don’t have to be as reliant on a young player in Nunez who was a massive amount of money, pressure on his shoulders. They can pick and choose his games if Firmino is at it.

“He’s been with Jurgen Klopp a long time. He’s made that false nine a position that other teams have… it’s been there before, Spain did it with Fabregas and other teams have done it over the years, but not like he’s done it.

Firmino to ‘have a huge say’ on Liverpool season

“He could still have a huge say in what Liverpool achieve this season and he could be a huge bonus for Jurgen in that he won’t have to rely as much on Nunez. I think he can pick and choose.

“He doesn’t get in behind and he doesn’t get lots of chances, but he makes Liverpool tick.”

The main source of criticism towards Roberto Firmino is his lack of goalscoring threat. But against Bournemouth, the 30-year-old was deadly and Liverpool fans will be hoping he can continue this form against better opposition.

Newcastle will be a good test, given they can rely on the likes of Sven Botman and Kieran Trippier in defence.

Meanwhile, Klopp has given the latest on Liverpool’s midfielder hunt, while admitting there are a ‘few’ targets on his mind.

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