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Ronaldinho and Klopp dual inspirations for Liverpool's Firmino

4:25 AM IST 07/03/19
Roberto Firmino Liverpool 2018-19
The Brazil international spoke warmly of his Selecao predecessor and his Anfield coach as helping him to become a better player

Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino has credited the dual inspirations of his fellow countryman Ronaldinho and manager Jurgen Klopp as improving his skills on the pitch as a forward.

Since his arrival at Anfield in 2015 for Hoffenheim, the Brazil international has continued to grow in stature, particularly under the influence of the former Borussia Dortmund boss.

He has been a key member of both the Reds and the Selecao in recent years and helped the former to a Champions League final last year, as well as helping to spearhead their Premier League challenge this season.

Speaking to Eight by Eight magazine, Firmino revealed that he took inspiration from Brazil legend Ronaldinho, and that his appreciation for his talents made him want to push on forwards.

“I was wowed by his way of playing football,” the 27-year-old stated.

“But that was not enough. I needed to improve my own game, to try to be the best footballer in the world.”

Of Klopp, who has described him as the engine-room of his Liverpool side, Firmino was similarly respectful in praise, adding: “We get along so well. He’s an excellent coach, an amazing person, so passionate on the pitch.

“When he says that, to me, it’s a sign that I’m giving back what he wants. It motivates me to keep going, to do the things he asks.”

He further credits Klopp for cementing his favoured position as a centre-forward, after spending much of his career in the number 10 role.

“I was a midfielder, though for a while I even played as a central defender,” he added, recalling his youth days.

“But whenever I got the ball, I would start to dribble and to nutmeg people and join the attack. So every year I evolved a little bit further forward up the pitch.

“Once I got to the U17s, I became a No.10, which was the position I held up until recently – when I established myself as a centre-forward.

“It was Klopp’s idea to fix me as a No.9. But I accepted this role and adapted to it. Now I want to continue in this position until the end of my career.”