Roberto Firmino may have seen Mohamed Salah steal the limelight at Liverpool this season, but the Brazilian has been hailed by Georginio Wijnaldum for offering “something extra” to the cause.
The Reds’ Egyptian revelation has contributed 43 goals across all competitions this season, but the Brazilian forward has offered 27 of his own.
His efforts have earned him a long-term contract extension at Anfield, with his value not lost on those who work alongside him and continue to benefit from his all-action displays.
“He has something extra,” Wijnaldum told the club’s official website.
“He scores goals but he is like an extra defender – he is always making it difficult for players when they have the ball. They never see him coming. He takes the ball from behind.
“When you play against him you always have to be aware that he can be somewhere, you never know where he is. That doesn’t give you a comfortable feeling when you have the ball. And that’s a good thing for us.”
The Dutchman added on Firmino’s fresh terms: “Bobby is a really important player for us.
“It’s a good sign from the club, that we want to keep players together, and also a good sign from him; he wants to stay at Liverpool, he wants to build something with Liverpool.”
Firmino’s latest goals for the Reds came in a 5-2 demolition of Roma in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.
Liverpool are now closing in on a shot at a sixth European crown, with Wijnaldum admitting that he has allowed himself to dream of what could be.
He said ahead of a return date with Serie A heavyweights in the Italian capital: “I really think about it. We’re so close, it’s almost impossible not to think about it.
“Instead of letting it put pressure on me, I have to see it as motivation – we are just 90 minutes away from the final and we have to do everything to go through. So I use it as motivation instead of pressure.
“I enjoy the moment and the situations I’m in because they’re not normal situations.
“A lot of players don’t ever play in those situations and atmospheres – big games, semi-finals, the Champions League. So I just try to enjoy it.”