Jurgen Klopp dismisses fears Roberto Firmino is suffering a World Cup hangover for Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp insists Roberto Firmino isn’t enduring a World Cup hangover as he hailed the Liverpool striker’s all-round contribution.
The Brazil frontman had a shortened pre-season due to his international commitments in Russia and has yet to get off the mark this term.
However, Klopp has dismissed concerns that Firmino is not firing on all cylinders. The 26-year-old was limping in the closing stages of Liverpool’s 2-0 win at Crystal Palace but he’s fit to face Brighton at Anfield on Saturday.
“It was just cramp,” Klopp said.
“He’s fit and I think he’s had a very good start.
“He had two weeks pre-season which is quite a short one for a player who needs his physical fitness as much as Roberto does but I’m completely happy.
“After two weeks preparation and a Brazilian holiday he is much sharper and fitter than I would have expected. He came back in really good shape to be honest.
“He’s involved in all of our offensive situations, even with opening the gap with a run or playing the pass or whatever. First defender, all that stuff.
“It is all fine. It is exactly how it should be in this moment and he can improve like we can all improve.”
Firmino’s 27-goal haul last term was the best of his career. Klopp is in no doubt that he will make a major contribution once again but says one of the striker’s biggest strengths is his selfless nature.
“If anybody asked me how often Roberto had scored in the first two games it feels to me like four times but it was obviously not a lot so far,” Klopp added.
“His desire to score is as big as the other two (Sadio Mane and Mo Salah). He doesn’t think too much about it. If he’s in a better position to shoot then he will shoot and if someone else is in a better position he will pass.
“He’s experienced enough to know he did not have the longest pre-season. It was quite difficult playing these games pretty early.
“We had to have a look in training so it was clear that for these guys pre-season was still going on. Not highest intensity, but they do a bit more than the others.
“It’s absolutely all okay. If people talk about him because he’s a No 9, it’s not important for him and it’s not important for me. He’s involved in all the situations up front. He will score goals 100%.”
Daniel Sturridge is currently Firmino’s deputy and either Divock Origi or Dominic Solanke will be kept around as further striking cover this season.
Origi was hoping to join Borussia Dortmund but talks between the clubs ended after they were unwilling to match Liverpool’s £27million valuation.
Klopp confirmed that one striker is likely to be off-loaded before next Friday’s European transfer deadline.
“I know which one (will be involved) but that’s not for the public,” he said.
“We will see what happens with that position. We cannot go with just two strikers for the season and we don’t want to.”