Roberto Firmino is the player Anfield has been waiting for since Luis Suarez left, Jurgen Klopp has a squad willing to die for him and other things we learned from Manchester City 1 Liverpool 4.
By Coral Barry
Firmino is the player Liverpool have been waiting for
Just when the murmurings of dissent were growing against Liverpool’s blockbuster summer signing, Firmino exploded into life. The Brazilian was untouchable today as he tormented City’s defence with his touch and ingenuity. He provided the cross for Liverpool’s first and then delivered an exquisite pass that bent around the home team’s defence and into the path of Philippe Coutinho for the second. His debut goal was a simple tap-in but finished off 32 minutes of Suarez-esque perfect line-leading. Jurgen Klopp showed great faith in Firmino as strikers Christian Benteke and Daniel Sturridge watched from the bench and he responded with a stunning performance. A new Anfield star is born.
The players will walk on hot coals for Klopp
After a lacklustre performance in the defeat to Crystal Palace two weeks ago, Klopp’s players responded with a display that typified everything the German demands from his team. Aggressive, relentless and tireless, Liverpool were just as phenomenal off the ball today as on it. James Milner gave the impression that he ran three marathons today alongside nine other outfield players willing to run themselves into the grave. Liverpool’s three goals came after sustained pressing hassled City into relinquishing possession and they never let up even when the game was won. Klopp built his Borussia Dortmund empire on the foundations of faultless attitude. His Liverpool players have demonstrated they are willing to provide the same.
Brazilian duo complement each other perfectly
Firmino was outstanding but Coutinho was out of this world. And most encouraging for Liverpool, the two countrymen inspired each other. Just as Suarez brought the best out of Sturridge two years ago, these two can create a similar remarkable partnership at the heart of Klopp’s new Liverpool. A 4-3-3 without a recognised striker looked a defensive decision pre-match, but the two Brazilians were so in tune with one another that it was an attacking masterstroke. Firmino set up his pal for the opener before Coutinho responded in kind with an unselfish cut-back that the former Hoffenheim man gleefully buried. Coutinho limped off late on and that will be a worry just as his telepathic relationship with Firmino is beginning to flourish.
City desperately need Kompany at the back
The absence of Vincent Kompany was keenly felt by City’s defence today. Three goals conceded in the opening half hour, an own goal and a complete lack of composure, City were all over the place. At half-time, Fernandinho came on to add some cover, although this did little to assure the shambolic Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis in City’s disastrous defence. The two were overrun by Liverpool’s front three and looked a bag of nerves. A recurring calf problem kept captain Kompany out today and after already missing a chunk of the season through injuries, City need his strength and serenity back immediately.
Hart is still the best goalkeeper in England
England’s number one had an opening half hour to forget but showed his class eventually and was by a country mile the best City player out there today. After looking uncertain for 30 minutes, with his distribution particularly off key, Joe Hart regained his composure. It was far too late for City, but the goalkeeper was the sole reason Liverpool didn’t get six or seven. He denied Firmino three times, including two one-on-ones, and stopped Benteke from adding to the home team’s humiliation. Hart’s 14 clean sheets in 2015 are no fluke. He is the best goalkeeper in England.