Jamie Carragher has suggested that Roberto Firmino is “not quite right” as questions over his role in Liverpool ’s starting XI grow.
The Brazilian came out of Jurgen Klopp’s line-up for the win over Atalanta, with his replacement Diogo Jota netting a stunning hat-trick
That treble put Jota on seven goals from his first 10 appearances for the Reds, as the clamour for him to replace Firimino continues.
Klopp has opted to start both players for the clash with Manchester City at the Etihad, but Carragher has admitted there are some concerns about Firmino’s downturn in form.
“The fact we’re asking the question shows something has not been quite right with Bobby Firmino,” Carragher told Sky Sports.
“I think last season wasn’t his best season and he’s been off the pace at the start of this season. You can look at the numbers, if you look at actual goals, Firmino is nowhere near where Mane and Salah are.
“Liverpool fans and everyone accepts that because he wins the ball back, he starts that press and that’s what this team is most famous for.
“He’s well down on that this season, Salah and Mane are now winning the ball back more than Firmino so he’s not even doing what he’s supposed to be in the team for.
He added: “The man who has been brought in for competition, rather than replace the front three, is getting goals. That’s been lacking with Firmino.
“The decision comes as a manager, ‘do I pick someone who scores me more goals or do I pick someone who works for the team and presses for the team?’
“The other big problem Firmino has is Jota works, he presses and he has energy. That’s why the big debate has started, nobody is not understanding Firmino’s role. He’s (Jota) just full of energy, he presses the ball, he was called a ‘pressing monster’ by Jurgen Klopp’s assistant [Pep Ljinders], who knows him really well.
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“Every time he’s on the pitch, he brings energy, I think he livens the others up.”
The Liverpool boss hit out at criticism of his striker, reaffirming his importance to the title winners.
“I don’t have to say one word about Bobby Firmino and how important he was for us. So I don’t waste time with that,” Klopp said.
“[People who are] not with us, I don’t care if they know about him. He was in so many games the difference maker, without scoring maybe, but with scoring as well in other games. I would feel really embarrassed if I had to mention now the qualities of Bobby Firmino.”
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