Wycombe Wanderers forward and Liverpool fan Adebayo Akinfenwa has exclusively told Anfield Watch that Roberto Firmino brings far more to the side than just his goalscoring.
Akinfenwa is not concerned by Firmino’s goalscoring record in recent seasons as he believes that scoring goals is not the Brazilian’s main strength. As a striker himself, Akinfenwa is impressed by Firmino’s work off the ball and his playmaking ability, with his connection to Mo Salah and Sadio Mane on the pitch.
Speaking exclusively to Anfield Watch, Akinfenwa offered his thoughts on Firmino’s performances. “Listen, you’re judged on goals and I don’t care what anybody says, strikers are judged on goals, but at the same time, the team knows how important he is. So as much as you personally might want to look at it as a stats game, you kind of look at how many goals to games, but when Firmino is on it he makes Liverpool tick going forward.
“(Mo) Salah and (Sadio) Mane love to play off him, the stats speak for themself. Listen, I don’t think Firmino is known for his goals, so when you’re a goalscorer and it dries up then you look at it and say his best attribute is scoring goals. Whereas, I don’t think Firmino’s is that, he can score goals but I do think he brings so much more to it, but it is easy to turn around when you’re not scoring goals and you’re not bringing it that he’s struggled.
“I don’t think Firmino has always been an out-and-out goalscorer. I just think that we know his strengths, for me as a striker, his touch, his vision, his workrate, and as long as the team is winning, and that’s the main element, and you’re putting your two pence into that you’re cool, but every striker wants to score goals.”
ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT
Firmino’s goal return in the Premier League since the start of last season has been far from impressive, with 15 goals in 62 appearances. However, as Akinfenwa says, his game is not purely about getting into the box and scoring goals, so he should not be judged solely on his goal-to-game ratio. His overall performances have been outstanding in spite of the lack of goals, with an average WhoScored rating of 7.14 and 7.07 in the Premier League over the last two seasons respectively.
This shows that he is contributing to Liverpool’s performances and results, even if he is not the one scoring the important goals. He has 13 assists to go along with those 15 goals and his most recent one, perhaps, epitomised exactly what he is about. The forward spun a Leicester defender in the box before brilliantly teeing up Mo Salah to curl in the opener in the game, which may have had more attention had Liverpool not gone on to lose the game.
So, Akinfenwa’s assessment of Firmino is in line with what the statistics suggest in terms of the impact he has away from goalscoring. But, as he says at the end of his comments, all strikers want to score goals and, hopefully, Firmino will be able to add some more to go along with his creativity and workrate between now and the end of the season.
See more of our interview with Adebayo below.
.@daRealAkinfenwa on Roberto Firmino:
"Listen, strikers are judged on goals, but at the same time, the team knows how important he is. When Firmino is on it he makes Liverpool tick going forward." ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/gwIuku49DA
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) February 18, 2021
I’m a 22-year-old from Lowestoft who supports Norwich. I write and edit content for Anfield Watch and previously worked for Fresh Press as a content creator.