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Is This Liverpool Attacker Underrated Due To The Presence Of Coutinho And Mane?

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Image result for firmino 2016-17

Liverpool arguably are in possession of the best attack in the EPL at the moment, and it’s one of the reasons why they are doing really great in the campaign. The Reds sit just a point and position away from the top spot after 12 rounds of games.

Attacking trio; Coutinho, Firmino and Mane have been in menacing form since their partnership started at the start of the season, and they have continually terrorised opposition defences through their combination of set skills, defence-splitting passes, flicks, tricks, goals and assists.

While they have received praises and adulations from different quarters for the perfect understanding and chemistry they have forged between themselves within such a short period of time, it is obvious 1 isn’t as held in a very high esteem as the 2 others.

The makeshift centre-forward of the triumvirate, Roberto Firmino, hasn’t been in the news as much as Coutinho and Mane. And one can only but wonder why.

Much has been made of how Liverpool would fare and cope without the Senegalese when the African Cup of Nations start in January. Philippe has been linked with a future move to Barcelona, with the La Liga giants keen to splash the cash on the 24-year-old as a result of his performances.

Meanwhile, Firmino has been ignored almost totally, and the only time he gets to be talked about is when Sturridge’s plight of failing to break into the starting XI is being attributed to him.

He is clearly being underrated, and is this because of a supposed superiority of his attacking partners? Or it’s just plain lack of paying very close attention to his importance to the team on everyone’s part.

Since the start of 2016-17, the Brazilian has created at least 6 more chances from open play (31) than any other player in the club and in the whole of the Premier League.

Playing in the middle of a 3-man forward in Liverpool’s 4-3-3 system hasn’t in any way affected his work rate, and most importantly, his willingness to carve out chances after chances for his teammates as opposed to attempting them on his own.

In 11 Premier League outings thus far, Firmino has scored 5 goals and assisted another 3, a more than decent return for someone playing a new role in his 2nd season in the top flight.

The 25-year-old has 67% shot accuracy and 79% average pass accuracy thus far, but these impressive numbers just don’t look impressive enough. Meanwhile, they are very similar when compared to Mane’s and Coutinho’s, hence one is left to wonder why he is being underrated.

In his 12 EPL appearances, Coutinho has 5 goals and assists apiece and has averaged 53% shot accuracy and 84% pass accuracy. Mane has 6 goals and 2 assists, while his shot accuracy and average pass accuracy are 65% and 78% respectively.

Considering the very close figures the trio has recorded, you’d be right to think they ought to be accorded equal and a similar level of accolades just like their stats, but it’s not so.

Image result for firmino 2016-17

So, based on these, clearly, Mane or Coutinho’s brilliancies aren’t why Firmino is underrated because none appears to have outdone the other in any way. However, the fact that Liverpool don’t have a replacement for the 2 makes them untouchable, hence the whole hype about them.

Why that is also true of Firmino’s status in the lineup to an extent, he has at least 2 direct replacements for the primary role he plays in Origi and Sturridge.

Although, playing as a makeshift highlights his versatility and immense talents, but the fact that he isn’t an out-and-out striker and hasn’t contributed way more than the 2 other forwards have to Liverpool’s cause means he isn’t the most spectacular and standout player after all.

Underestimating his abilities and contributions is directly not in connection with anything that has to do with Coutinho and Mane, it all boils down to his role in the Liverpool attack. Another is able to play it, even though not as better than he does.

The team will sweat and get more worried about the prospective unavailability of the 2 than it would of his. Yet, it is only as a result of the respective roles they play, and it has nothing to do with the individuals themselves.

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