Liverpool now have their own N’Golo Kante after impressive transformation – .

Liverpool now have their own N’Golo Kante after impressive transformation – .

Liverpool scored five times at Old Trafford last weekend – as if you need to remind you – with five players contributing directly to their goals.
Diogo Jota, Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah both scored and assisted, while Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson also scored goals.

The only member of the top six without at least one goal or an assist was Roberto Firmino (apart from James Milner who was only on the pitch for 27 minutes).

Still, a glance at the stats of the main players massively underestimates the Brazilian’s contribution to a famous victory, and that certainly doesn’t give enough credit to the work he has done on the pitch.

READ MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo claim proved by Roberto Firmino in Manchester United rout

In reality, Firmino has been involved in one way or another in Liverpool’s five goals against Manchester United. His most important contributions came in the first and last, when he passed to Salah before his assist for Keita and then won the ball in midfield, which saw Henderson put the Egyptian in the goal.

But he had at least one touch in games for the other three goals too. In the move for Jota’s strike, Firmino came deep to the halfway line to take a pass from Virgil van Dijk and move the ball over to the Reds captain.

He then came in from the right flank with the ball, playing a one-two with Salah in preparation for Liverpool’s third goal, before drawing the attention of two United players near the penalty area, allowing to his team to score his fourth. .

Firmino played a role in all five goals, and the only relevant touches that were particularly similar in terms of location were found to the left of the center circle.

This isn’t usually where you’d expect to find a team’s center-forward, but a glance at his tactile location map for the match shows that he wasn’t often in the width. of the surface of six meters.

This highlights the pointlessness of looking at a player’s average position after a match. For this game, Firmino’s average key location was almost perfectly central, but it was clearly everywhere (in a good way).

The image is also reminiscent of a famous quote from Leicester City hiring manager Steve Walsh regarding the importance of N’Golo Kante.

“People think we’re two players in midfield, and I’m like ‘No. We play with Danny Drinkwater in the middle and with Kante on either side, ”he said after the Foxes stunned the world by winning the league in 2016.

France’s World Cup winner effectively did the work of two players and it can be said that Firmino is doing the same. A striker by profession, the Brazilian can also bring elements of an attacking midfielder (or even two, as his tactile map suggests).

And while he couldn’t continue scoring goals in the Red Devils rout, it was encouraging to see that Firmino’s three shots were all coming from the middle area of ​​the penalty area and that none were coming out of the box. was more than 12 meters from the goal. .

Some players score goals from all angles, with Salah being the most obvious example of someone who can, but that is not Firmino’s style. According to Understat, only three of his 70 league goals for the Reds have come from outside the six-yard box width.

There has been a change in the proximity of the goal he has been shooting since this season. His short-range hat trick at Watford will have skewed the numbers somewhat, but where his average shooting distance was between 13.3 and 14.6 meters for the last three campaigns, it stands at 9.2 in 2021/22.

If Jurgen Klopp can make Firmino more effective in the box while still retaining his abilities to press and tie the game in deeper areas, it will prove once and for all that rumors of the Brazilian’s demise skills have been greatly exaggerated.


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