Andrew Robertson says Liverpool would be lost without the defensive exploits of Roberto Firmino.
The 27-year-old played a crucial role as the Reds inflicted a 3-0 defeat on Burnley at the weekend, providing a goal and an assist to maintain their winning start to the Premier League season.
Firmino’s defensive exploits: Five things to know…
- Firmino’s role has often been described as that of a selfless striker, in that he drops deep to allow for overlapping runs from Salah and Mane.
- In the 2017/18 Premier League season no striker attempted more tackles than Firmino (89).
- Last season he was again placed in the top 10 for tackles attempted by a striker in the league (34).
- Teammate Van Dijk recently labelled Firmino the greatest player he has ever lined up alongside.
- Robertson has now echoed the Dutchman’s views, lauding Firmino’s displays on the pitch as “so important”.
In netting the third at Turf Moor, Firmino became the first Brazilian to score 50 goals in the Premier League, while simultaneously joining an elite list of nine Liverpool players to have bagged a half-century since the competition’s inception 27 years ago.
However, it’s not the striker’s goalscoring exploits which have caught the attention of his teammates, but rather an ability to defend from the front which have yielded rave reviews from Robertson.
He said: “With his work-rate, his technique, his goals and his all-round play, I don’t think there’s anyone like him.
Nine players have scored 50+ Premier League goals for Liverpool:
🏴 Robbie Fowler (128)
🏴 Steven Gerrard (120)
🏴 Michael Owen (118)
🇺🇾 Luis Suarez (69)
🇪🇸 Fernando Torres (65)
🇪🇬 Mohamed Salah (57)
🇳🇱 Dirk Kuyt (51)
🏴 Daniel Sturridge (50)
🇧🇷 Roberto Firmino (50)
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“People will say there are better strikers, but for me what he does is so important to our team. We’d be lost without him. He’s world class.
“He does everything, and that’s the beauty of Bobby. He can do it all. He’s our first line of defence, and I’ve not seen anybody better at doing that.
“He presses the defenders and doesn’t give them a minute. He comes back and nicks the ball in midfield for us.
“He’s so important defensively for us, then he goes up the park and scores goals and makes assists. That’s what we need him to do.”
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‘Firmino’s work rate is the best in the world’
There have been no shortage of glowing appraisals headed in the direction of Firmino, with Jurgen Klopp recently branding the No 9 “sensational” after Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Arsenal.
Fellow countryman Fabinho also disclosed that Firmino is the only player capable of dispossessing Virgil van Dijk on the training ground.
And that revelation resonates with Robertson’s own assessment, as he went on to describe how the South American is probably the striker with the best work rate in world football.
He added: “He’s a good trainer, he perhaps doesn’t work as hard as he does in a game, but he saves it for a Saturday.
“The work he puts in during games is probably more than any other striker in the world.”