Roberto Firmino: the Liverpool player doing it all by himself

From 3-0 up at half time to 3-3 by the end of the game, it’s easy for Liverpool fans to forget that they’re still very much in charge of their Champions League group with only one game left to play.

Despite a fired-up Sevilla rallying back from half-time despair, all Liverpool need is a win over Russian side Spartak Moscow at home in the final game to qualify as group winners, and only a point to go through at least in second place – which may well even ensure the Reds a better draw in the next round than actually topping the group.

And yet, despite the negativity around the defensive display in the second half, it’s worth pointing out just how good Liverpool’s attack is this season. It’s a balancing act, of course, and keeping them out at one end is probably as important as putting them into the other. After all, when you score three goals away from home, you expect to win. The flipside of that is the stunning attack: when you concede three goals away from home, you expect to lose.

Perhaps what shows the disparity between Liverpool’s great attacking trio of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino and the rest of the team the most is the defensive contribution they make, too. It’s almost like they’re doing it all by themselves.

In addition to his two goals, Firmino also made three tackles in a frantic game. No Liverpool player made more all game, and only Joe Gomez equalled the Brazilian forward’s tally.

His defensive contribution was also in evidence when you see that Firmino won six aerial duels all night. Three of them were in attacking positions, but the other three were defensive duels – that’s only one fewer than Dejan Lovren.

Impressively, too, at the other end, Firmino contributed to his side’s overall play with four completed dribbles and scored two goals from three shots on target. That means only one of his four shots all night was wasted, missing the target. His overall play is second to none in the Liverpool side.

Even though Jurgen Klopp’s defence needs a lot of work, it’s not just his attack he can rely on: Liverpool’s central striker also seems to be one of their most effective players defensively, too.

 


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