Roberto Firmino may have actually arrived in Liverpool back in the summer, but the Brazilian attacker truly made his bow for the Reds during the 4-1 trashing of Manchester City at the weekend with any lingering doubts over his ability to produce in English football put well at truly to bed.
Forcing an own goal for the opener, providing a sumptuously delicious assist for the second and timing his run to perfection to tap in the third, the 24-year old played out a masterclass performance that was only dulled in the slightest by the pure brilliance of City ‘keeper Joe Hart — if it wasn’t for the English shot-stopper, there’s just no telling how many goals the visitors would have bagged. Eyebrows were raised when Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp left in form striker Christian Benteke on the bench with Firmino taking his place, but his faith in the Brazilian attacker was more than repaid in full with an outstanding display.
Video courtesy of @MrBoywunder
While this result was very much a team effort, some of the interplay between the Reds samba stars was nothing short of sublime. The flicks, the feints, the tricks, the vision and on par the intensity in pressing from the front saw both Philippe Coutinho and his compatriot impress in equal measure. If this is a team that’s looking to build confidence after a slow start to the season, there’s no better way to do it.
“We need results like this, we need performances like this, so that we start believing in ourselves. That’s normal. You cannot switch the lamp on and off, on and off. So it’s very bright [after Saturday] but we have to go on,” said Klopp, reflecting on Saturday’s outstanding team performance. “Our situation now is to do the best we can do. We trained with a few players as most came back in the middle of the week. We couldn’t be sure that we would start with the biggest confidence after what happened against Palace but now have more and more confidence in the squad,” he said with his trademark smile before reminding his charges that there were opportunities that went begging. “We’ve had bigger chances [in other games] since I was here but we did not take them. [On Saturday] we made the first three, I think, had more then, and didn’t take all of them.”