Why Firmino is so Important for Liverpool
Liverpool are on the cusp. The cusp of something great.
While the Reds let superstar Luis Suarez go, along with Philippe Coutinho, the side has managed to hold on to its solid – but not sensational – player Roberto Firminio. The new 5-year deal for the striker could prove the decisive in Liverpool’s success this season.
Firmino is a good player. An important player. A player that does a good job and is a regular starter, but one that is not quite a world beater.
This isn’t to disrespect the Brazilian, he’s done an excellent job since his move to Anfield and continues to grow as a player. But nor is he carrying the team in a way that Suarez was. Instead, he is a perfect fit in the team, and that is the reason it’s great that the Reds have managed to keep hold of him with a new deal in the summer.
To lose a player like this would have shown that Liverpool aren’t yet at that elite level they need to be to seriously challenge for titles. Instead, they are now in a great position.
The Importance of Firmino
For the Reds to re-establish themselves as serious title contenders, they need to build a team around their best players. It’s what United did in the 90s with the likes of Scholes, Keane, Beckham and Schmeichel. It’s what Arsenal’s invincibles did with Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira and Pires. And it’s what City are now doing with de Bruyne, Aguero and Silva. Find a spine and build around that. Firmino could well become part of Liverpool’s spine alongside the likes van Dijk and the crowning jewel: Mohamed Salah.
For anyone betting on Liverpool to bring the Premier League title to Anfield in the coming years, keeping a player like Firmino is a minimum requirement.
What are the Details of the Brazilian’s New Contract?
Firmino thrived in his central role last season, breaking his goalscoring record for the Reds long before the season was over. Inevitably, this kind of form tends to lead to transfer links. Sensibly, Liverpool offered the 26-year-old Brazilian a new 5-year deal this summer to keep him at the club until 2023.
Indeed, extending Firminio’s contract was essential not just for building the team, but also for boosting his value, as it serves two purposes:
1) putting off any potential suitors
2) if he is to be sold, then it will only be on Liverpool’s terms – just as they achieved in Phillippe Coutinho’s sale to Barcelona, which was worth around £142 million.
Can Liverpool Build a Team Around Firmino?
While not a prolific goal scorer, it is Firmino’s all-around team play that makes him so valuable at Anfield – especially his outstanding ability to press the ball from the front – which is priceless in Jurgen Klopp’s high-octane system.
Indeed, as we previously discussed, it is this type of player that you must build a team around. A player that fits perfectly into a system. A player who is not above the team, but a key cog.
Part of the problem with Liverpool at the moment is that in too many positions there is too much inconsistency. Over the past couple of years, there have been countless changes in goal, in both full-back positions, at centre-half, and in central midfield. Ironically, it is the forward players – which are typically the positions that teams and managers rotate more based on form and fitness – that are the steadiest regarding selections.
While Liverpool don’t want to be predictable, there needs to be more consistency in the team selections – and this isn’t a criticism of Klopp. Players need to take their chances and make themselves un-droppable – just as Roberto Firmino has done. The signing of van Dijk should hopefully provide the defence of at least one dead cert player, while the Reds also need another player of this ilk in midfield. It isn’t productive to keep the merry-go-round of Wijnaldum, Milner, Henderson, Keita and Lallana spinning. These players need to step-up Firmino-style, or new better players need to come in to fill these roles.
What is certain right now, though, is that Liverpool need more players like Roberto Firmino.