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Salah and Klopp offer backing to struggling Firmino

Mo Salah and Jurgen Klopp have both spoken out in defence of out of form frontman Bobby Firmino ahead of this weekend's big game away to Manchester City.


The Brazilian watched from the bench in midweek as a front three of Salah, Sadio Mané and new boy Diogo Jota absolutely destroyed Atalanta in the Champions League, producing the kind of attacking display that we haven’t seen from the Reds in a long time.


Firmino’s replacement, Jota, was the star of the show and claimed a hat-trick to go alongside the decisive goals he’d bagged in the previous three fixtures. Understandably, there’s a clamour for him to retain his place at the expense of Firmino, but Salah refused to be drawn on that in an interview with BeInSports this week.


"I cannot decide on this matter; it is the coach’s decision," he said. “But I cannot forget what Firmino gave to the team. You cannot say he should sit on the bench because he scored fewer goals than before. He gave the club everything he had in the past years. He creates many opportunities for us. Our playing tactic reduces his chances to score.


"We have played together for the past four years, and it is natural not to score in every match. What matters is what the team achieves as a whole, and I believe that we help the team a lot."




Firmino’s form over the past 12 months has been much more inconsistent than we have been used to. Even when he wasn’t scoring goals the Brazilian was always in the thick of everything and caught the eye with his relentless of pressing and pestering of defenders. More recently he’s been so up and down that predicting how he’s going to play is like spinning the roulette wheel at www.toponlinecasinos.co.za.


Firmino has found the net only once so far this season, while famously he was forced to wait until the final Premier League home fixture to record his first Anfield goal of last season. Goalscoring should never be the first thing Firmino is judged on, but when the other areas of his game aren’t functioning as well as we’re used to then it shines a brighter light on the lack of goals.


To further compound the issue, new boy Diogo Jota is banging in goals for fun and has seven already, including that midweek hat-trick. For the first time since Klopp’s arrival, Firmino’s starting place is under serious threat and it’s going to be interesting to see if he’s given the nod on Sunday against Manchester City.


Klopp, meanwhile, was far more disdainful when asked to expand on what Firmino brings to the team. Clearly looking irked by what was an innocent enough and well intentioned question at his Friday press conference, the Reds boss fired back.


“Who is with us I don’t have to say one word about Bobby Firmino and how important he was for us, I don’t waste time with that,” he said. “Who is not with us I don’t care if they know about it to be honest."


“He was in so many games the difference-maker without scoring maybe, I’m not sure, but with scoring as well in other games, so I would feel really embarrassed if I had to mention now the qualities of Bobby Firmino. I can’t help these people, sorry. If they don’t see it I cannot help them. That’s how it is.”


An impassioned defence of his striker and detailed analysis of the quality he brings might have helped but by completely even dismissing the need to do it Klopp sent an even more powerful statement. Basically he’s saying if you don’t see what Firmino brings to the side then you don’t understand football. 


Klopp has to defend his player and should be applauded for it, but it’s a more nuanced discussion than that. Very few people don’t understand how important Firmino has been to Liverpool’s success but equally it’s not difficult to see that he hasn’t been playing at that level for some time. At least not consistently. 


So questioning what he brings to the side might be worthy of Klopp’s scorn, but pointing out that he hasn’t been doing it much of late is a different argument and it’s entirely fair. Klopp will want to put his faith in the under fire frontman, but leaving out the in form Jota to accommodate him would be a huge call.


Playing at the Etihad is not often fun for Liverpool. It’s hardly as enjoyable as playing at casino joka casino en ligne for example, but unlike City’s record at Anfield which is absolutely abysmal, the Reds have enjoyed some emphatic victories at City under Klopp’s watch. 


A surprise 4-1 win in 2014 is a game Kopites will remember fondly, but it’s the 2-1 success in the Champions League quarter final 2nd leg that most stands out.


Firmino played a key role in both of those victories, it remains to be seen how integral he will be on Sunday.

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