Roberto Firmino was an “absolute joy to watch” on Saturday as Liverpool won 3-1 against Newcastle United, according to ex-Anfield ace Steve McManaman.
After Divock Origi went off injured in the first half, Firmino came off the bench to play key roles in goals for both Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah to help the Reds come from behind and grab all three points to preserve their 100 per cent start to the Premier League season.
McManaman named Firmino as the man of the match for his performance on Saturday and admits that it was a shame that the Brazil international did not start the match.
“It’s been an absolute joy to watch him for the 60 minutes he’s been on the field,” McManaman said on BT Sport 1 on Saturday [02:16pm].
“He was involved in Liverpool’s second [goal], he was involved in Liverpool’s third.
“His overall link-up play is just exceptional.
“It’s a pity he was on the bench but as I said as soon as he came on he helped Liverpool to a strong position.”
Jurgen Klopp would have had to make a bold decision if he was going to start Firmino against Newcastle. The former Hoffenheim player had been away on international duty with Brazil where he played against Colombia and Peru in Los Angeles. Even though it was a few days between his last outing versus Peru and the match against Newcastle, the possible jet lag and the exhaustion of travelling meant that Klopp’s decision to start him on the bench was justified. Liverpool still could have won that match without Firmino. After seeing how well the Brazilian played, it’s probably hard to agree with that now but Liverpool still should have been able to win against Newcastle, even with a strong team of second-string players. Newcastle took their one and only chance in the opening stages and only had one big chance after that – luckily that fell to a right-back who is yet to impress the St James’ Park faithful.