11 Dec 2015

You Failed: Michael Owen slates £29m Liverpool star for 'poor' Sion performance. Fair?

What's happened to Roberto Firmino? The Brazilian's form has tailed off badly since his man-of-the-match performance against Manchester City, and according to ex-Red Michael Owen, Firmino had another bad game against FC Sion.

Commentating on Thursday's Europa League clash for BT Sport, Owen scathed:

"Firmino has been poor. Apart from the Man City game, I’m yet to see anything that really excites me".*

It's hard to disagree. Offensively, Firmino had zero impact on the game, and the stats show the dearth of quality in his overall performance:

* Lost Possession: 6 times (more than any other Liverpool player)

* Passing: 50% of overall passes were backwards, which seems disproportionate given Firmino's role as an attacking midfielder.

* Involvement: Made only 34 passes in the game (second lowest after Origi), and Only 17 were forward passes, which shows that Firmino didn't get into the game enough.

* Shots on Target: One all game. Well, at least that's better than Lallana, who didn't get a single shot on goal.

* End Product: It's bad enough that Liverpool have Lallana who rarely scores/creates a goal, but Firmino is developing into a similarly ineffective player, and one goal in 18 games (948 minutes) just isn't good enough.

Anfield legend John Aldridge is also disenchanted with Firmino's recent form, and on Monday, he blasted the Brazilian for his 'horrible' performance against Newcastle:

"Firmino is playing as if something is wrong, mentally and physically. He’s been absolutely redundant the last two games".

What is Firmino's problem? In many cases, the simplest answer is often correct, and it's entirely possible that he simply can't handle the pressure/expectation that comes with playing for a massive club.

At Hoffenheim, Firmino was a relatively big fish in small pond (just like Lallana at Southampton), and in an attacking sense, he was very much the club's top-dog.

At Liverpool, he's just another expensive player, and there are other players (Like Coutinho) who are more revered/important to the team.

As such, there may be an element of 'small club mentality' at play here, and if that's the case, it's bad news for Liverpool.

* Transcribed whilst watching the game

Author: Jaimie K


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