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    Roberto Firmino: The glue that holds Liverpool’s attack together

    30 September 2019 | Premier League | Opinion
    1109
    Roberto Firmino: The glue that holds Liverpool’s attack together
    Oleksandr Osipov / Shutterstock.com

    Roberto Firmino has been Liverpool’s best player this season, hands down. That is a big claim with the ways in which Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are playing.

    Firmino has tallied three goals and three assists for the Reds in the Premier League this term. His thumping header from a set-piece against Chelsea ultimately gave the Reds the win in a huge test at Stamford Bridge last Sunday.

    The Brazilian isn’t your typical No. 9. In fact, despite his goal scoring exploits at German club Hoffenheim, 49 goals in 153 matches, Firmino was more of an attacking midfield No. 10 that could cut up defences with expert passing.

    He registered 36 career assists at Hoffenheim to go with his goals. In all, Firmino was a part of 85 goals for Hoffenheim in just 153 matches. Although Firmino showed just how promising he was at Hoffenheim, former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers didn’t want him.

    Rodgers was at odds with Liverpool’s recruitment team, which desperately wanted the Brazilian. In the end, the recruitment team were allowed to sign Firmino but only if Rodgers was given funds to sign Christian Benteke.

    It wasn’t until Jurgen Klopp’s arrival that Firmino started playing as a No. 9. It wasn’t a move many Liverpool supporters didn't take to at first. However, Firmino has become a No. 9 in the vein of Luis Suarez as he can create and score goals equally in Liverpool’s three-man attack.

    Firmino is currently just one goal behind teammates Mane and Salah. Meanwhile, he is tied in assists with the Egyptian winger.

    The 2018-19 Premier League season was the first in which Firmino’s expected goals (xG) number was below his actual output as a Liverpool player. His World Cup exploits and injury at the end of the season is most likely to blame for the decline.

    This term has seen Firmino exceed both his xG and expected assists (xA) numbers after six matches. He has scored 0.01 more goals and tallied 1.12 more assists than his xG and xA figures. It isn’t just Firmino that is exceeding his xG and xA numbers, however.

    Salah is also above his xG of 3.37 and xA of 1.21 in the early stages of the Premier League. Half of Salah’s four league goals have been assisted by Firmino. The Brazilian’s other assist went to a Mane goal against Burnley.

    Firmino averages 1.3 key passes and 31 total passes per match. The numbers once again show Firmino is not only Liverpool’s best player this season, but he is a No. 10 at heart.

    Liverpool may be flying high thanks to the goals of Salah and Mane, but without Firmino to create chances, Liverpool wouldn’t be heading into the weekend five points clear at the top of the league.

    Predictions for Premier League

    Home team - Away team Forebet
    flag_1 EPL
    West HamTottenham
    23/11/2019 13:30
    X
    flag_1 EPL
    BournemouthWolverhampton
    23/11/2019 16:00
    X
    flag_1 EPL
    ArsenalSouthampton
    23/11/2019 16:00
    1
    flag_1 EPL
    BrightonLeicester City
    23/11/2019 16:00
    2

    England Premier League - predictions, tips, statistics
    OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
    1. Liverpool 34 12 11 1 0 28 10 18
    2. Leicester City 26 12 8 2 2 29 8 21
    3. Chelsea 26 12 8 2 2 27 17 10
    4. Manchester City 25 12 8 1 3 35 13 22
    5. Sheffield United 17 12 4 5 3 13 9 4
    6. Arsenal 17 12 4 5 3 16 17 -1
    7. Manchester United 16 12 4 4 4 16 12 4
    8. Wolverhampton 16 12 3 7 2 16 15 1
    9. Bournemouth 16 12 4 4 4 15 15 0
    10. Burnley 15 12 4 3 5 17 18 -1
    11. Brighton 15 12 4 3 5 15 17 -2
    12. Crystal Palace 15 12 4 3 5 10 16 -6
    13. Newcastle United 15 12 4 3 5 11 18 -7
    14. Tottenham 14 12 3 5 4 18 17 1
    15. Everton 14 12 4 2 6 13 18 -5
    16. West Ham 13 12 3 4 5 14 20 -6
    17. Aston Villa 11 12 3 2 7 17 20 -3
    18. Watford 8 12 1 5 6 8 23 -15
    19. Southampton 8 12 2 2 8 11 29 -18
    20. Norwich City 7 12 2 1 9 11 28 -17

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