25 Jan 2016

'He's brilliant': Klopp compares £29m Liverpool star to 'Leo Messi' and confirms 'striker' positional change

Roberto Firmino: attacking midfielder or striker? At Hoffenheim, 91% of his appearances were in the attacking midfield position, but at Liverpool, Firmino seems to struggle in that role, and according to Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, the Brazilian is now a bona-fide centre-forward.

When asked during his post-match press conference about Firmino's position, Klopp categorically declared:

"Roberto is a striker. He scored two against Arsenal and two here. A lot of strikers are 1.60 metres or 1.70 metres-something. Leo Messi what is he? He is flexible and in brilliant shape".

It's no surprise that Firmino is excelling as a striker, and his stats at Hoffenheim show an obvious affinity for playing upfront:

* Attacking Mid: 73 goals/assists in 134 games (One every 151 mins)

* Central Striker: 10 goals/assists in 10 games (One every 90 mins)

A similar pattern is developing at Liverpool this season:

* Attacking Mid: 0 goals/2 assists in 20 games (One every 507 mins)

* Central Striker: 9 goals/assists in 7 games (One every 65 mins)

As you can see, with one goal/assist every 65 minutes, Firmino is achieving stunning results up-front, and Klopp is absolutely right to confidently claim that he 'is a striker'.

As such, unless Liverpool's other strikers can match or exceed this level of creative output, Firmino should be the clubs number one striker unless and until someone else can match or exceed his output in that position.

The moral of this story: play aces in their places. As the stats show, Firmino has a prodigious impact for Liverpool as a striker, so that should be his role every time he plays.

If that means Benteke permanently warms the bench, then so be it.

Author: Jaimie K


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