John Aldridge believes Jurgen Klopp may be forced into dropping Roberto Firmino if the form of the Brazilian does not improve.
Firmino has been a key figure for the Reds since Klopp’s arrival in 2015, and with that, the forward played a significant role in propelling Liverpool towards the Champions League final last season.
However, Aldridge is under the impression that the forward was a passenger against Arsenal on the weekend, which represented the type of form the Brazilian has been in this season.
“Roberto Firmino was a passenger once again against Arsenal on Saturday and this has been a theme over the course of this season,” said Aldridge, as quoted by the Irish Independent. “I don’t know what has happened, but Firmino is not the same player who was so important to this Liverpool side last season.
“Salah and Mane need Firmino to link their dynamic attacking combination, with his pace, movement and intelligence shining through time and again last season.
“The display at Arsenal was not the first below par performance of the season and we have reached the point where Klopp needs to consider leaving him out and trying something different up front.”
Aldridge did suggest that Xherdan Shaqiri could be an option going forward if Klopp is looking to shake things up.
“Shaqiri has looked threatening when he has come off the bench and maybe it is worth trying him on the wing and Salah up front, even if that is a little harsh on Firmino after all the good work he did last season,” he said.
“Liverpool still look like the second best team in England, but the gap between the top side and the rest is still big, even if the chasing pack have got a little closer this season.
“Champions Manchester City have raised the bar to such a high level that anyone with ambitions to finish ahead of them this season need to win every game to stay with them because they will not drop too many points over the course of this season.
“To have 27 points on the board after just 11 Premier League games would normally be enough to be clear at the top, but one team has changed the rules of normality in the race for top spot and Liverpool will struggle to maintain such a fierce pace.
“This is why I believe City will be champions once again, as they are a winning machine that have plenty of margin for error in most games they play. Away games against top six rivals will be a test for them, but they will beat the rest of the Premier League sides with ease and it leads the rest have to reach improbable heights to compete with them.”