Roberto Firmino delivers once again when Liverpool need him most

There was a time when a certain part of the Liverpool fan base demanded that Roberto Firmino be relieved of his place in the Reds’ starting XI.

In truth, the Brazilian had gone so long without scoring a goal – with his barren run at Anfield stretching for up to 13 years at one point – the idea that he was living with borrowed time from the first team. was not necessarily ridiculous.

Roberto Firmino
Roberto Firmino wins the opener | Shaun Botterill / Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp has persisted with Firmino despite struggling against goal lately – although he doesn’t have much of a choice on equity when Divock Origi wastes chances like he did against Burnley.

Klopp named the usual three-pronged attack for Liverpool’s trip to Tottenham on Thursday night – a game that represented a huge test for the struggling Premier League champions – and Firmino produced the kind of performance that proves just how it is essential for Liverpool’s title chances.

No individual is capable of winning a title, it takes not just a team but a team to clinch one of the toughest top crowns in European football. However, some players have the ability to spark others into life, produce a piece of magic, or show a little determination and work pace that energizes their teammates, and that’s exactly what Firmino is to Liverpool.

From the first minute at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium he showed he was ready for the fight, harassing the Spurs backline and throwing himself.

Jurgen Klopp, Roberto Firminho
Jurgen Klopp was delighted with his leader | Marc Atkins / Getty Images

His ability to slip into the pockets of space and tie the game together with the rest of his teammates is unprecedented in the Liverpool squad, so much so that when he’s not play well, very often Liverpool do not play well.

After a superb display in the first half, all the Brazilian needed was a goal to cap his performance, and that is exactly what he got. While the highlights will show a tap-in, there was so much more to the goal – there was an anticipation that Eric Dier and Hugo Lloris were both going to leave the ball, and a movement needed to remove the shoulder. of the Spurs defense.

Once he caught his goal, it was clear that the Firmino of old was coming back, not afraid to fall deeper and deeper when needed to try to influence the game, so much so that he would sometimes find himself sitting in front of the Liverpool back line – some forwards don’t even dare to stray into their own half, but when you have the skill and cunning to play together like him, you almost want him to run right after the ball so he can shake things up.

Liverpool’s trip to Spurs has always felt like a big game – rarely do two Premier League giants meet without it being described as such – but this game was really huge in the context of Klopp’s side of the season. .

Roberto Firminho, Sadio Mane
Liverpool title charge could still be back | Marc Atkins / Getty Images

A loss would have seen them lose five points out of the top four and Ten points on the leaders of Manchester City. Not only that, but something other than a win would have seen them score just two wins in their first ten away league games of the season.

In a weird way, this season has gotten so crazy that people just stopped emphasizing the importance of games because no matter what, everyone is well aware that the losing team might just go and win all 15. next consecutive matches. But make no mistake, Liverpool’s trip to Spurs has been huge and Firmino delivered when they needed him most.