ENGLISH FOOTBALL

Liverpool striker Firmino returns to training ahead of Villa clash

Bertrand Traore

Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino has returned to the training ground after a month. He was out with a hamstring injury but now the number 9 could be in contention to play in the starting XI.

A month ago in the Champions League, The Scousers faced Atletico Madrid whom they defeated comfortably. Unfortunately in that match, despite the win, Roberto Firmino was injured and at that time it was very serious.

Even without Firmino, Liverpool have fared well. They have won all 6 of their Champions League group stage matches and are currently second in the Premier League table.

The Scousers will face their own legend Steven Gerrard, manager of Aston Villa. They have qualified for the Champions League as well and are left to face Newcastle, Leicester and Spurs before the year ends.

What is the role of Firmino at Liverpool?

Roberto Firmino is Liverpool’s number 9 and plays with goalscoring wingers such as Mane and Salah. He often receives criticism for his goalscoring numbers but just because he is a number 9, that doesn’t mean he is supposed to only score goals.

Roberto is a false 9 at Liverpool and it is his job to create opportunities for his teammates. Each player at Liverpool has a unique role and Firmino’s role is vital as well.

Firmino presses the ball and actively moves around as well. He contributes to the defence more than a  number 9 should. It’s his technical abilities, precise passing and ball skills that have helped him a lot over the years. More than this he makes compromises to set up the play for Mane or Salah, which is his main role. His most assists came in 2017/18(17) throughout all competitions.

 Klopp has dropped him often last season after signing Jota. This is because Liverpool are looking to provide a goalscoring threat as they did back in 2018/19. In that year they became the third-highest goalscoring team, scoring 97 goals overall.

 Since Mane has dipped in form, Jota has also stepped up as well. Diogo Jota already has 8 goals in 14 Premier League games this season. 

This implies that Firmino will have to contend with Jota. As of now, Roberto has scored 4 goals in the league before his injury.

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