Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for forward Roberto Firmino after the Brazilian scored his first goal for Liverpool in the 4-1 win at Manchester City.
The last time Firmino played in Manchester, was against United under Brendan Rodgers in September, when he was asked to play on the right of a five-man midfield and operated more like a wing-back.
Saturday’s match against City saw him selected by Klopp up front, through the middle – where Firmino has been impressive in Bundelsiga in the last two years.
“I told you a few weeks ago I know about his quality,” said Klopp of Firmino.
The 24-year-old scored the third and assisted the opening two goals, combining superbly with compatriot Philippe Coutinho – with the team of them clearly benefitting from not being involved in the recent international break.
“He trained 10-12 days with us without interruption, the same as Coutinho, and that is the reason we played like this with the formation like this – we tried to put on the pitch as many players who trained together.”
The Brazilian duo featured alongside each other in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Wolves during the break and their understanding was clear to see at the Etihad Stadium.
Coutinho played in Firmino for the opening goal which saw Mangala bundle into his own net, Firmino then supplied Coutinho to make it two-nil, before Coutinho returned the favour to make it 3-0.
It was almost four when Coutinho controlled and flicked the ball over Mangala before half-time, but Firmino’s effort went just wide.
The Independent‘s Ian Herbert praised Firmino, likening his dominance, pressing and movement to Luis Suarez:
“Firmino does not possess the pace of an Aguero, nor the effortlessness of a Philippe Coutinho. Nor does he look like he has a bagful of goals-of-the-season in his box. There a trace of the Suarez in his desire to be on the ball, though, and to seize whatever advantage comes his way. Liverpool haven’t known that since the Uruguayan left.”
Those who doubted Firmino at the start of the season are being made to eat their words now that a manager who knows the player’s quality is in charge.
MAN CITY 1-4 LIVERPOOL