Danny Murphy believes Roberto Firmino’s appearance on the bench against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League midweek in the end showed why he is such an important figure for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Firmino came on at half-time, but the damage was done and Liverpool lost the game 2-0. The Brazilian has not been at his best this season, and Murphy believes this could come from tiredness.
Murphy also added that to get Firmino back to his best, Klopp needs to get him back into the best physical condition possible, and resting him at Belgrade was a good start to doing so.
“Jurgen Klopp should try to write off the Red Star Belgrade defeat as a one-off despite saying they lost their ‘mojo’. Sometimes, you just have a bad day, you can’t change the momentum and Europe is hard at the best of times,” Murphy wrote in his column for The Daily Mail.
“Think about being unbeaten in the Premier League and the massive progress that has been made in 18 months. Klopp feels if Liverpool don’t win the title, it’ll be regarded from the outside as a bad season. That’s the level of expectancy he’s created and maybe the midweek loss in Serbia acts as a kick up the backside. We will see against Fulham at Anfield on Sunday.
“One thing we learned, if we didn’t know it already, is how important Roberto Firmino is to this Liverpool team. He was rested on the bench and by the time he came on at half-time, Liverpool were already 2-0 down. He has done brilliantly at the club and impressed me immensely.
“Firmino is technically very good but what he relies on to be at the very top of his game is being physically right because his output is enormous. He is the trigger for all the pressing and his workrate is phenomenal.
“If for some reason he is having a dip, maybe because of tiredness, maybe a couple of aches and pains, you notice it. Some players can get away with it because they move the ball, Firmino is hard yards all over the place when he’s at it.
“To me, he hasn’t looked quite as sharp this season, and maybe that explains why Klopp didn’t start him in midweek, to give him that little break. Funnily enough, Romelu Lukaku is a similar type I that when he drops physically, it affects his performances. When he’s at it, he’s unstoppable.
“The good thing is that restoring top physical condition is the easiest thing to work on. It’ll only be temporary for Firmino and we saw in Belgrade, Liverpool are always a better team with him in it.”