This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Liverpool stars Roberto Firmino and Alisson Becker took a major step towards winning another piece of silverware just weeks after lifting the Champions League final yesterday evening.
The pair were on top form as they helped Brazil beat South American rivals Argentina 2-0, putting them in the final where Peru await them after dispatching Chile by a 3-0 scoreline.
Alisson kept his ninth successive clean sheet by shutting out the likes of Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi, but it was Firmino who proved to Liverpool supporters and Jurgen Klopp that he can offer a different option in attack.
“It reminds me of a bus seat!” – Watch a damning verdict on Chelsea’s new kit in the video below…
Currently at Anfield, the former Hoffenheim forward plays in a ‘false nine‘ role, starting deeper in more of a centre attacking midfield position and distracting the opposition centre-backs and defensive midfielder in doing so.
This tends to help wide forwards Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah get in behind the opposition backline, but Firmino showed to Jurgen Klopp that he could potentially be used in a two-man attack thanks to his partnership with Gabriel Jesus.
Against Argentina, the Liverpool No.9 scored a goal and recorded an assist for Jesus, who returned the favour with a set-up for Firmino’s strike; the pair ran their opponents ragged throughout.
Firmino has never really played in a two-man attack under Klopp. He has played behind Salah at times when the Egyptian was thrust into a central role, but never alongside a fellow striker like he did with Jesus on Wednesday evening.
But now, he has proved he can be effective alongside a partner. This could offer Klopp the chance to play him up top with the likes of Divock Origi and Rhian Brewster, instead of choosing just one of them.
This gives Klopp license to switch it up. He could play a 4-4-2 with Firmino alongside Mane, Salah, Brewster or Origi, whilst fringe players such as Xherdan Shaqiri could also come into the side either on the flanks of the midfield four, or just behind the attacking two – it has been noted that the Swiss star needs to step up.
The free-flowing, efficient football on show between Jesus and Firmino should have had Klopp salivating at just how much his Brazilian No.9 can do in attack, and the 5 ft 11 forward has truly proven he can offer the Reds something different in attack with his newly discovered weapon.