Six games into his Liverpool career, and £29m summer signing Roberto Firmino is yet to provide a single goal or assist, and as usual, it’s the same old story: attacking player (with a history of achievement and/or great potential) signs for LFC, and then fails to consistently perform. Firmino – like Lambert, Balotelli, Markovic, and a whole host of others – is arguably being sabotaged by incompetent management, but according to ex-Red David Thompson, the Brazilian just isn’t good enough.
Earlier today, former Liverpool midfielder David Thompson tweeted:
‘[Lazar] Markovic is better than [Roberto] Firminho in my opinion’
The fact that Thompson has this view says more about Rodgers’ management that Firmino’s ability.
Prior to signing for Liverpool, Firmino was one of the most effective attacking midfielders in the Bundesliga.
His stats – in a league that’s on a par physically with the Prem – prove this:
* Last two seasons: 50 goals/assists in 69 apps (Goal/assist every 1.3 games)
* Goal/assist every 129 minutes of football.
Now, at Liverpool, Firmino is not even making the starting line-up, and despite Liverpool struggling for creativity (only five goals scored in seven games), Rodgers has left the Brazilian on the bench for the last two games.
It makes no sense, and I’ll make this same point again: Why is that players Ayew, Payet, Son, and Pedro – all of whom are new to the Premier League – can hit the ground running, but the likes of Firmino, Markovic, Aspas etc take forever to make an impact?
For me, there are at least two major reasons for this:
* Position: Ayew, Payet, Son, and Pedro are all played in their best positions. They have the trust of their managers, and are utilised in a way that will get the best out of them. Rodgers plays Firmino out of position, and has rarely played him as a number-10.
* Game Time: The aforementioned players are given maximum game time, which allows them to build rhythm and understanding with their team mates.
– Ayew: 6 games/517 mins (Average: 86 mins per game | 4 goals/assists)
– Payet: 7 games/627 mins (Average: 89 mins per game | 6 goals/assists)
– Pedro: 4 games/332 mins (Average: 83 mins per game | 3 goals/assists)
– Son: 3 games/206 mins (Average: 69 mins per game | 3 goals/assists)
Now, compare this to Firmino:
– Firmino: 6 games/237 mins (Average: 39 mins per game | 0 goals/assists)
How Can Firmino prosper if he’s averaging only 39 minutes per game AND is being played out of position?
It really is beyond a joke, especially given the fact that Rodgers fawned over Firmino in pre-season, claiming that he’s ‘outstanding’ and ‘wonderful’.
When a club spends £29m on a top-class attacker with a history of scoring/creating goals, he should be played as much as possible in a bid to give him the best chance of making an impact in a new league.
Mourinho, Bilic, Pocchettino, and Monk understand this; Rodgers does not, and this fatal mismanagement is (IMO) the root cause of Firmino’s failure to hit the ground running at Anfield.
As for Markovic being better than Firmino. No Chance.
Markovic grabbed his first assist for Fenerbahce over the weekend, but that hardly makes him a better player, and by every objective measure available, Firmino is – over the last two years – the more consistently effective attacker