Former Norwich, Blackburn and Celtic striker, Chris Sutton, has said that Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino has to “step up” and if The Reds are to be successful in this season’s Premier League title race.
The Brazilian international has 11 goals and five assists in his 30 Premier League appearances so far this season. However, Liverpool’s number 9 has often been deployed in a slightly deeper role by Klopp during this campaign, allowing Mohamed Salah to play further forward and more central at times.
Salah and Liverpool’s other frontman, Sadio Mané, are both on 17 league goals this term and Chris Sutton feels that Firmino needs to start banging in a few extra strikes to take the pressure off the two African strikers.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sutton said:
“The one that worries me a little bit, I do feel Firmino has to step up, I really do.
“They’ve been reliant on Salah and Mané and they need others to come to the fore at a time when it really matters now.
“Others need to step up, don’t they? They have been reliant on Salah and Mané.
“I think he needs to be more ruthless at this stage of the season.
“We’ve talked about Liverpool’s midfield, comparing them to City’s midfield and City have goals in the midfield. But others need to come to the party at Liverpool.”
While it’s clear to see what Sutton’s point is, Firmino’s contributions elsewhere on the pitch should not be undervalued either. His tireless running and ruthless pressing make him a nightmare for any centre-halves to face. Firmino’s unselfish approach to the game allows the likes of Mané and Salah to capitalise on the central space which he has dropped out of, taking a defender or two with him each time.
Firmino finished last season with 15 league goals so he could still reach that target this time around. He has never finished below double figures in any of his three previous seasons on Merseyside.
Liverpool’s next fixture is at home to Spurs on March 31st.
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