Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he is not concerned by Roberto Firmino’s form this season after suggestions that the Brazilian is in need of a rest.
The forward has played more matches than any other Premier League player since the start of last season.
Many of Klopp’s team, including Firmino, were involved in a campaign that saw Liverpool reach last season’s Champions League final, before taking part in the World Cup earlier this year.
Firmino has previously been described by Klopp as ‘the engine’ of his Liverpool side, but has struggled for form in recent weeks. He started Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday but was withdrawn after 80 minutes.
Klopp, though, says he is not worried about the 27-year-old’s performances and was surprised when he heard that Firmino had only scored one goal in his last nine matches.
“No. He's hard-working, sometimes better, sometimes a bit less, but good. That's how it is,” Klopp told reporters ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League clash with Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday.
“It will be all fine for sure. If he didn’t score in the last few games then… one in nine? All competitions? Didn’t he score against Red Star? That was the one goal he scored? Okay, good.
“I am not concerned. Things like this happen. He is a very important player for us. I was not really happy with our defending first half in London and he was involved in that. That's what I'm talking about.
“In the end everything will be fine. We know about these situations. Sometimes it is clicking easier than in other moments, that’s all. There are no concerns.”
The Liverpool boss went on to admit that he and his staff are often reluctant to leave Firmino out of matches because of the important role he plays in the team.
When pushed on whether the striker is in need of a rest in Belgrade on Tuesday, Klopp said: “Not really but, of course, it is something we think about 100%. Constantly, actually.
“It often leads to the decision that he still has to play. He starts or comes on, sometimes it is better to come in the game later when all the rest are a bit tired but we will see how we handle it.”
A win for Liverpool on Tuesday would see them edge closer to qualification from Group C, with second-placed Napoli hosting PSG on the same day.