Firmino is emerging as a Premier League superstar: Five things we learned from Norwich 4 Liverpool 5
Roberto Firmino is emerging as a Premier League star, Jurgen Klopp must sign a new goalkeeper and other things we learned from Norwich 4 Liverpool 5
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Firmino is emerging as a star
The Brazilian has given glimpses of his special talent in some big games, at Manchester City, Chelsea and, most notably, in the recent thriller against Arsenal. But Firmino has found it difficult to be consistently effective since his summer move. Until now. While not quite as electrifying as he was when scoring a spectacular double against Arsenal, most of Liverpool’s best play against Norwich came from the former Hoffeinheim player. Used once again in centre-forward position, his touch, awareness and inventiveness caught the eye as much as his two goals. He may have slightly scuffed the finish for Liverpool’s opener but it was due reward for a clever run, while his second – his fourth in three Premier League games – demonstrated his technical brilliance as he started and then finished off a magnificent counter-attack. Firmino is emerging as a bona fide Premier League star.
Klopp must address set piece weakness
Yet again, Liverpool were let down by their principal weakness – defending set pieces or, to be more precise, corners. They were 1-0 up, and James Milner had just wasted a golden opportunity to double their advantage, when Norwich profited from the visitors’ nervousness whenever the ball is pumped in the air towards Simon Mignolet’s goal. It was no surprise to any regular Liverpool observer that the diminutive defence lacked the height and desire to win a series of headers before Mbokani back-heeled the equaliser. It was the eighth Premier League goal Liverpool have conceded from a corner this season, the worst record in the top flight.
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Mignolet needs competition for his place
The Liverpool No1 was given the huge boost of a lucrative new five-and-a-half-year contract at the start of the week but there was no tangible improvement in his performance at Carrow Road. The best goalkeepers exude authority. Simon Mignolet has the permanent air of a man who has left the gas on at home. While the Belgian was not at fault for Norwich’s opener, he should have kept out Steven Naismith’s strike for their second. The word is that Liverpool’s plan is to offload the blunder-prone No2 Adam Bogdan and recruit a proven goalkeeper in the summer who can challenge Mignolet for his starting place. To be blunt, the Belgium international is miles off the required standard for a club with trophy ambitions.
Moreno rashness stems from poor positioning
That the Spanish left-back lacks defensive nous is hardly a revelation. He is forced into making so many last-ditch tackles because he so frequently gets caught out of position. The difficulty for Liverpool is that Alberto Moreno is hit and miss when it coming to timing challenges. The one that conceded the second-half penalty, which Wes Hoolahan converted to put Norwich 3-1 up, put the ‘c’ into clumsy. Firstly, Moreno launched into a wholly unnecessary sliced challenge on Naismith close to the touchline and then pushed the striker to the ground to concede a stonewall spot-kick.
Lallana responds to call for more end product
The attacking midfielder was dropped to the bench for this clash as he paid the price for too many nearly-but-not-quite performances. But Adam Lallana responded to the calls for more end product by helping turn the game in Liverpool’s favour after his introduction as a second-half substitute. His pinpoint cross for Firmino to make it 3-3 demonstrated his technical quality and awareness. For good measure, he then scored the ultra-dramatic winner with a fine left-footed volley in the fifth minute of injury time. It was his first Premier League goal of the season.