Football News

“He’s more German than Brazilian” — Markus Babbel lauds Roberto Firmino’s attacking versatility

By Ben Green

“He’s more German than Brazilian” — Markus Babbel lauds Roberto Firmino’s attacking versatility

Published: 13:51, 31 March 2022 | Updated: 22:55, 2 May 2022

Former Liverpool defender Markus Babbel has detailed the key aspects of Roberto Firmino’s game that have allowed Jurgen Klopp to convert him from attacking midfielder to central forward.

The repurposed No. 9 initially relocated to Anfield from Hoffenheim with a reputation as a skilful Brazilian playmaker, who had an eye for goal. But under Klopp’s tutelage, he has transitioned into a ‘selfless striker’, a false nine who drops deep and creates space for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to run into.

That phase of play has become synonymous with Klopp’s high-octane brand. As the Brazilian drags centre-backs out of position, Salah and Mane have freedom to wreak havoc. Indeed his back-to-goal role has been a cornerstone of Liverpool’s success since the German pitched up on Merseyside.

Liverpool vs Watford betting tips from Squawka Bet

18+ only. Please gamble responsibly. For more information, visit begambleaware.org. All odds and offers in this article are valid at time of publication.

Klopp has naturally been hailed as the mastermind behind that tactical tweak, but ex-Red Babbel, whom Firmino played under during the former’s brief stint as Hoffenheim boss in 2012, suggests the Liverpool forward always showcased a footballing intelligence that belied his raw skill.

Speaking to Squawka (courtesy of bet365), Babbel said: “I have not been surprised [by Firmino’s positional change] because he is more German than Brazilian in the way he thinks about the game.

“He’s very focused in training, he has very good discipline, he’s skilful. So I haven’t been surprised.

“Of course, I saw him more as a No. 10 [at Hoffenheim], around the striker, but how good is he doing as a centre-forward? He’s fantastic to watch.”

The 55-capped Brazilian came through the ranks at Figueirense in his homeland before crossing the Atlantic in 2011 to play for Hoffenheim. Four years in Sinsheim saw his stock skyrocket, and Liverpool ultimately pounced seven years ago, initially joining under Brendan Rodgers.

However, since Klopp succeeded the now-Leicester boss just four months after Firmino signed, the 30-year-old has gone on to etch his name in Koppite folklore and continued to enhance his status as one of the game’s most talented forwards.

There are certainly arguments that Firmino isn’t quite as influential as he once was, starting just eight Premier League matches this term, but his recent goal against Arsenal just before the international break should serve as evidence that he is still a vital cog in Klopp’s well-oiled system.

READ MORE:

✕︎

Sign up to the Best Football Offers

A valid email is required.

Invalid e-mail.

Yes I am over 18.
Yes, I would like to receive email updates on exciting offers from squawka.com. For more info on how we and our partners process your data, see Privacy and Cookie Policies.
You need to confirm that you are over 18 and that you want to receive updates.

*By subscribing you are confirming that you are over 18 years of age.

*All emails include an unsubscribe link, where you can opt out any time. *Please see our privacy and cookies policy..

x

Newsletter error