According to an interview with 90min, former Premier League and England striker Emile Heskey believes that Roberto Firmino is the star that makes ‘everything gel properly’ for the Reds.
Heskey hinted that Firmino’s selflessness makes him a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s side, whilst also praising the striker’s ‘brilliant’ first-touch.
Whilst teammates Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah may receive all the glory at times, Firmino has really led Liverpool’s front three across the last couple of years.
Heskey likened the sometimes little praise that Firmino receives to his time with the Merseyside outfit, where he was tasked with the supporting role for legendary strikers Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler.
Heskey was with Liverpool for four years, looking back at the target-man’s scoring record and his assists tally really shows that the retired England international was underrated at times during his career.
Here’s what Heskey had to say on Firmino’s importance to the Liverpool team:
“I just think everything gels properly when he’s playing, he’s not necessarily worried about ‘this is my job and I need to do this’.”
“You see him chasing back and tackling, you see him playing left wing and chase the guy up and down the wing.”
“Then you’ll see him up front, getting the ball and holding it up and bringing someone in. It’s just a different variety of stuff that he does, he’s not just focused on ‘I must score goals’.”
“I’m a forward, so I look at the runs he’s making, the space he’s creating. He seems to get space where nobody gets space.”
“He creates his space, his first touch is brilliant because he takes it away from players, so he can have time to look around and assess what he’s got to do next. He’s great at that.”
Firmino has bagged 11 goals and registered 12 assists in 42 appearances across all competitions for the Reds this season, while he hasn’t scored as much as the likes of Salah and Mane – he’s been the glue that has held the font three together and allowed them to flourish.
Come the summer, Firmino will have been with the Reds for five years, the Brazil international has established himself as one of the world’s top strikers during this period and he deserves more praise.
The 28-year-old’s tireless work-rate and unselfishness in the final third is something we rarely see from centre-forwards – least of all ones with the Brazilian’s high-profile.
Firmino looks set to get himself a Premier League winners medal this season, should the top-flight be finished after the Coronavirus pandemic is hopefully dealt with.