Andrea Pirlo famously said: “Football is played with the head. Your feet are just tools.”
As modern football becomes more and more tactical, the expectations from a player have become immense.
With the game, the number ‘9’ position has also evolved.
A complete striker in the modern game requires finesse, technique, power, good hold-up play, as well as tactical awareness.
Although the first names on the lips of most people, when asked about the most complete striker in the world, would be the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Luis Suarez or Sergio Aguero, a strong contender in shape of Roberto Firmino often goes under the radar.
Firmino might not be able to boast numbers as the likes of strikers at other top clubs do, yet his function is integral for Liverpool as the Brazilian is one of the main weapons in Jurgen Klopp’s armoury.
What he did for Liverpool’s 3rd goal against Southampton stands exemplary.
“Bobby” Firmino showed his expert awareness and played an intelligent dummy on Alisson’s pass with Southampton’s midfield and the defence completely dissolved as Henderson played the ball to Salah and the chance was duly finished to get Liverpool 3 goals up.
The move has people wondering if it was rehearsed in the training ground sessions. However, Firmino’s genius is not to be questioned.
The Liverpool number nine was signed from Bundesliga club Hoffenheim back in 2015 and has been a resurgent figure ever since the arrival of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.
With Firmino supporting the frontline, the menacing pace of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané makes the Liverpool attack one of the most feared in Europe.
If the Reds go on to lift the Premier League title, which seems increasingly likely with every matchday, the Kop certainly has Roberto “Bobby” Firmino to thank for his share of the work.