By Will Butcher
Danny Murphy revealed he was too quick to judge Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino as he continues his fine form with the only goal of the game against West Brom.
Firmino, 25, ghosted in at the back post to head home after Lucas Leiva flicked on a free-kick, handing Liverpool a 1-0 win away at the Hawthorns on Sunday afternoon.
Speaking on BBC One’s transmission of Match of the Day 2 [Sunday, 10.30pm], former Reds midfielder Murphy revealed he was “unconvinced” by Brazil international Firmino to begin with.
However, Murphy told the panel that he had been proved wrong by Liverpool’s number 11 and claimed the “exceptional” attacker had been crucial in replacing crocked ace Sadio Mane.
“With Mane missing, Firmino has stepped up to the plate,” Murphy said. “He’s got a fantastic work ethic. He knows where the space is, he runs in behind and his final product is fantastic.
“He’s very calm and he wanders all over the place; it makes him hard to pickup. He has the awareness to find space and rotate his position.
“When he first came, I was unconvinced; but he’s impressed me greatly in the last couple of months.”
Firmino first joined the Reds back in the summer of 2015 for a fee of £29million, and has since scored 21 league goals in 62 games.
The former Hoffenheim star scored his 12th goal of the season in all competitions and his second in two games to send Liverpool fans home happy from the Midlands.
Jurgen Klopp has seen his side put a dismal run of form at the start of 2017 behind them to record five wins in their last seven league outings, as the run-in for the top four Premier League slots heats up.
Victory against West Brom, thanks to Firmino’s header, sees Liverpool move on to 66 points from 33 games. Man City are on 64 from 32, while Man United are in fifth with 60 from 31.
Firmino’s form is likely to see him start once again for the Merseyside giants next time out, as they go up against Crystal Palace at Anfield on Sunday.
In other Liverpool news, Klopp has given his verdict on this 24-year-old’s horror miss against West Brom.