Liverpool beat Burnley 0-2 to win 13 Premier League games in a row and Roberto Firmino was once again the difference maker.
The Reds have now won four out of four in the Premier League and five out of five in all competitions having secured the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea. They have been impeccably consistent in both performance and result as they and not defending Champions Manchester City set the early season pace.
And whilst other Liverpool players pick up the individual awards with Virgil van Dijk and Alisson both winning individual honours at the UEFA awards midweek; and others take all the headlines with Trent Alexander-Arnold and his relentless goal creation and Sadio Mané’s consistency in scoring, Roberto Firmino just keeps on making a difference for The Reds.
Last week’s victory over Arsenal was the first game this season in which Firmino didn’t register a goal or an assist. He created one goal in the 4-1 win over Norwich and then put two on a plate for Sadio Mané in the Super Cup (though only one was officially counted). And then he scored what turned out to be the winner away to Southampton.
Even in the Arsenal game it was Firmino’s delightfully delicate first-time pass that set Salah away and caused David Luiz to foul him and bring about the penalty that Salah promptly dispatched. So even there, in a game where his name was absent from the stat sheet, he made an impact. What other players on planet earth can you say produce with that kind of ridiculous consistency?
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Win headers? Firmino can do that. He won 66.7% of his 6 aerial duels against Burnley. Take shots? Firmino can do that. He let rip with five against Burnley. Create goals? Firmino can do that. He charged forward with the ball through the heart of Burnley’s team before sliding a perfectly weighted through-ball into the path of Sadio Mané for Liverpool’s second goal. Score goals? Yet again, Firmino can do that. With the ball rolling free on the top of Burnley’s box Firmino arrived to absolutely smash the ball into the back of the net.
Speaking of that goal, it was Firmino’s 50th in the Premier League. That makes him the first-ever Brazilian to hit that milestone. That seems absurd, but it’s true. Coutinho topped out at 41, Gabriel Jesus has only got 28 and the legendary Juninho Paulista only got 29. This does end up begging the question, is Firmino the greatest Brazilian to play in the Premier League?
Remember he was never considered an elite player on the level of Oscar or Philippe Coutinho, yet here we are in 2019 and he’s still here setting records whilst both of them have departed and gone on to various levels of success. Obviously Firmino doesn’t have as many titles as Willian (2), Fernandinho (3) or Anderson (4) but he’s played better than any of them bar Fernandinho. And even then for sheer consistency of performance that you have to say he’s close.
Not only is Firmino consistent in terms of production but he also works as hard as anyone. Well, maybe not James Milner. But beyond that you’d be hard-pressed to find a player that works as hard as Firmino does for Liverpool. It’s like someone combined Salah’s skill with Milner’s work-rate. And if that sounds like an impossible footballer then, well, yeah. Impossible kind of sums up Roberto Firmino. Liverpool’s match-winner against Burnley, key participant of their club record 13-match winning run, but also a player who manages to somehow be underrated despite being lavished with entirely justified praise.
Bobby Firmino… the Premier League’s best-ever Brazilian? He’s got to be within a shout.