What next for Daniel Sturridge?A tale of two strikers: Liverpool’s defender up front
He just doesn’t seem to fit with what Jurgen Klopp is doing at Liverpool, and the entire balance of the side seems to be thrown off when he plays.
Though perhaps it isn’t all the former Chelsea and Manchester City striker’s fault: perhaps it has something to do with just how good Roberto Firmino has been when playing as a striker this season.
Firmino just seems to fit Klopp’s model at Liverpool; he defends from the front, he harries the defence and he stops the opposition from playing out from the back. And the stats we’ve seen from Firmino on daily fantasy football game FanDuel bring out just how vital Firmino has been to Liverpool when leading from the front. FanDuel will match your first deposit all the way up to £400, so this weekend might be a great place to start as Liverpool
Comparing him to other strikers in the league, it’s clear that the Brazilian star is head and shoulders above the rest.
In gameweek eight, Firmino’s stats are doubly impressive: he played most of the game as a secondary striker rather than as the main striker this time, but this was a game where Liverpool had the vast majority of the possession against a frustratingly defensive Manchester United side.
Yet he still made ten tackles – more than double his nearest challengers. You’d expect West Brom to come up with a similarly game plan this weekend, and Firmino will probably have to play in a similar way, then.
The work rate that Firmino brings to Liverpool can’t be understated. Earlier this season, Liverpool outclassed Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane for most of the game, only to concede an equaliser in the second half.
But what let Tottenham grow back into the game was the arrival of Divock Origi onto the pitch. It’s not that Origi is a bad player, or that he didn’t do his job properly, it’s just that Firmino didn’t let Tottenham’s defenders get the time on the ball they needed to launch their team’s attacks.
The Brazilian is Liverpool’s first line of defence, rather than the leader of their attack. In terms of FanDuel he’s the kind of striker who wins you more points than most because he wins points for tackling as well as the offensive categories. But for Liverpool, he’s more than that – he’s the man that stops the opposition from playing, as well as a man to be relied upon in attack.
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