Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino played a pivotal part in the Reds’ win against Southampton on Friday night. His attacking contributions ensured victory for his side, making him Maryam Naz’s Offside Rule Player of the Week.
Right place, right time
The Brazilian adopted good positions throughout the game that allowed him to get in behind the Southampton defence time and time again.
Firmino was able to create chances for himself, as well as carving out opportunities for others in more promising positions. His assist for Jordan Henderson’s goal proved this, as he slipped in behind the Saints defence and provided his captain with the means to make it 3-1.
Even when others were capable of finishing attacking chances, the 27-year-old made himself available to ensure that these moments ended with goals for Liverpool.
When Mohamed Salah blazed through the pitch to put the Reds back in the lead, Firmino raced alongside him, presenting himself as back-up should Salah have needed him.
All in all, the forward has consistently held good positions across the season, and this was palpable against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men.
Firmino’s most impressive quality is his versatility – besides in between the sticks, there is no position he can not play in.
He is able to perform at the highest quality in many areas across the pitch, and against the Saints, this was at the forefront of his performance.
The Brazilian international provided from either flank to his team-mates, as well as profiting from chances within the box.
He created three chances from open play – more than any other player on the pitch – and was also able to pull the strings from midfield, and operate in defence when needed.
The 27-year-old has a certain drive and determination when he plays – he takes on defenders, with no fear of losing possession or wasting chances.
Whether it was snapping at the heels of Saints player high up the pitch, or chasing down passes in his own box, the Brazilian was unrelenting in his pursuit.
The clash at St Mary’s on Friday saw Firmino have more take-on’s than any other player on the pitch (5). The Southampton players were unable to keep him at bay when he charged at their defence, allowing him to threaten in attacking positions.
Firmino may have earned all the plaudits this week, but his Merseyside rivals, Everton, also warrant a mention.
Their win against Arsenal featured an attacking masterclass from the Brazilian winger Bernard.
The 26-year-old gained consecutive honorary mentions, impressing with his skill, verve and ability against the Gunners.
Follow Maryam on Twitter at @mnaz98