‘Firmino like a big cat walking through the jungle’ – Souness salutes Liverpool’s ‘special’ front three

Roberto Firmino Liverpool 2019-20
The former Reds star has showered a Brazilian forward with praise, with Jurgen Klopp’s attacking unit about much more than just Mohamed Salah

Roberto Firmino is as important to the Liverpool cause as Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, says Graeme Souness, with the Brazilian likened to “a big cat walking through the jungle waiting for an opportunity to do damage”.

The South American frontman is not the most prolific attacking option that Jurgen Klopp has at his disposal.

He is, however, a perfect fit in a system that has delivered Champions League, Club World Cup and Premier League crowns over the course of the last 12 months.

While Salah and Mane are all about end product, team player Firmino is the glue that holds Liverpool’s frontline together and allows others to thrive around him.

Reds legend Souness considers the 28-year-old’s qualities to be integral to Klopp’s plans, with the Scot telling Sky Sports: “Mo Salah might score the most goals but it would be totally wrong to say this side’s attack is just about him. He’s one of three very special players.

“I love watching Roberto Firmino play. A couple of years ago, I likened him to Kenny Dalglish. He’s like a big cat walking through the jungle waiting for an opportunity to do damage.

“His radar is on all the time and he’s got a great football brain, whereas Salah and Sadio Mane, they will catch your eye more because they are direct and they score more goals.

“They are a wonderful attacking unit, but it’s so important to have a really good defence because you can’t play super football in every single game you play.

“When it’s not going well, you need to know that you won’t be conceding goals. Then, if you’re on the back foot but you don’t concede, you know that at some point in the 90 minutes, one of your special players is going to create something for someone else or score himself.

“That’s what we had with Ian Rush. We would be under the cosh, we would clear our lines and a couple of passes later Rushy would be on the end of something, putting the ball in the net, and we would nick the game.

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“Liverpool have that now with their attacking players and that’s what makes them so dangerous. Even when they are not at their very best, they defend well and they're capable of nicking games.

“It’s so important to have those players, those goal-getters who can get you 25 in a season.”

Firmino is yet to find the target at Anfield in a Premier League game this season, but he does still have 11 efforts to his name – including a couple of match-winning strikes at the Club World Cup – and has taken his overall tally to 77 in 237 outings for Liverpool.