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Roberto Firmino: Liverpool's 'cult hero' who made football fun

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Donavan Ried

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[article]Roberto Firmino has spent eight seasons at Liverpool and helped them win their first Premier League title
When the travelling Kop spends 15 minutes serenading a player who is sitting in the stands injured while Liverpool are 2-0 up, you know it is for someone special.
Roberto Firmino will wave farewell to fans at Anfield on Saturday and it will signal the end of an era for a player who has been so important to Liverpool's success under Jurgen Klopp.
The Brazilian departs at the end of the season after eight memorable years at Liverpool and he was given a tribute at the King Power in their 3-0 win over Leicester on Monday night.
"He made football fun again," Liverpool fan Ross Chandley told BBC Sport.
"When you're young and you fantasise about being a footballer, you fantasise about being like Bobby. He has flair and the hard graft. In football you usually get one or the other."
Ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville told Sky Sports that "Firmino was sensational for years", while Liverpool team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold once called him "priceless".
Firmino might have sat out his final weeks with a muscle injury, but he has left a lasting impression and it will be celebrated against Aston Villa this weekend.

'He's a player so many kids want to be'

"He's a cult hero," former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy told BBC Sport.
During his time at the club, Firmino has helped Liverpool reach four European finals in seven years, winning one of them, while playing a key role in securing their first league title in 30 years.
He also won the domestic cup double last season to add to the Club World Cup they won in 2019.
"You wouldn't quite put him up there with Kenny Dalglish or Ian Rush, but he has been a big part of a wonderfully successful time at Liverpool," added Murphy.
"There are not many players who have played for Liverpool and done what he has. He's a unique footballer in a jigsaw puzzle Jurgen Klopp put together.
"He's known for his humility. He's loved by a lot of Liverpool people and will be for a long, long time.
"He is one of those players that so many young players and kids want to be. That's the biggest compliment you can get."
Murphy said it would be "almost impossible to find someone exactly the same" as Firmino and The Anfield Wrap's John Gibbons believes it is because he "sums up" a Klopp team perfectly.
"He's done the whole journey with Klopp. Firmino was the frontman in every sense. He was the leader of the press," Gibbons told BBC Sport.
"He was a nightmare for defenders and people found it so hard to get out because of the work he was doing in that front three. He was vital but he also scored a lot of goals for us - some great ones.
"He has been an incredible player for this football club. We have been very, very lucky to have him."

Roberto Firmino signed for Liverpool in June 2015, four months before Jurgen Klopp took over as manager
'He just loves the game'

Firmino is seen as the "cheeky" one in the group, always smiling, always enjoying himself and always producing wacky celebrations - including his trademark karate kick and pretend patch over the eye.
"Football at its best is when you feel like a kid and there was nobody who made you feel that more so than Bobby. If I was a 10-year-old kid I'd have his posters on my wall," said Gibbons.
"It's the no-look goals and the celebrations which change all the time. He was making fun of himself when he got an eye injury at one point.
"He just loves the game, loves scoring, playing football and winning. He had the best song as well and I can't believe we won't be able to sing that at him in the Kop any more. I will miss that.
How does he compare to Liverpool's greatest goalscorers?

Firmino finishes his Liverpool career as the club's 17th highest goalscorer.
He has notched up 71 assists on top of his 109 goals in 360 appearances for the club.
Only Steven Gerrard, Steve McManaman and Mohamed Salah have assisted more goals for Liverpool in the Premier League era.
Twenty-seven of Firmino's goals have come against top-six sides in the Premier League, while 22 have been scored in the Champions League.
"I've seen lots of great players and teams but he's in our top 20 goalscorers of all time and we've had some incredible goalscorers," said Gibbons.
"He gave us assists and work-rate too, so could have scored many more, but he was a team player first. He could not have done better for Liverpool as a signing from Hoffenheim."

Firmino's career has often been entwined with Salah's and Sadio Mane's and the trio formed one of the most feared attacking line-ups in Europe.
They scored 60% of Liverpool's Premier League goals during their 44-game unbeaten run between 2019 and 2020.
They became the most prolific front three in a Champions League season in 2018, combining for 29 goals, surpassing the 28 by Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
"Out of the three, Firmino was probably the least productive in terms of goals, but I don't think he's ever been under-rated," said Murphy.
"When you talk about that famous Liverpool front three, people see them as a collective for what they all did in those seasons they had together.
"It's very unusual to get a trio who had the durability that Firmino, Mane and Salah had for so long."
What were his most memorable moments?

Firmino has had plenty of memorable moments.
His extra-time winner over Brazilian champions Flamengo handed Liverpool their first Club World Cup trophy in 2019.
He scored the final goal as Liverpool beat rivals Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2018 en route to the final.
He scored in both 7-0 wins over Maribor and Spartak Moscow in the Champions League, as well as a crucial goal in a 2-0 win over Manchester United in the Europa League in 2016.
A memorable Premier League hat-trick against Arsenal in 2018 was followed by a double at Old Trafford in 2021 and another hat-trick at Vicarage Road later that year.
He may soon be gone, but Firmino will never be forgotten at Anfield and the next instalment of his career will be watched with interest.
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Truly an all time great for us. The work rate, the technique, the big games, the songs, but more importantly of all, the joy he brought us and he displayed every single game.

Defined a role and borderline perfected it.
 
The glue that held Mane and Salah together, and made us a real football force...
Wish we could find two or three more like him....
Bobby Firmino YNWA
 
Truly an all time great for us. The work rate, the technique, the big games, the songs, but more importantly of all, the joy he brought us and he displayed every single game.

Defined a role and borderline perfected it.

I don't like the term "cult hero" being associated with Bobby. To me cult heroes are for players like Erik Meijer who became popular for things outside of the field. Firmino is a true great of Liverpool, one of a kind player who combined hard work, selflessness, with skills and a little bit of mischief. The traveling Kop paid homage to him for more than 30 minutes in the Villa game. They don't do that for cult heroes. They were honoring a genuine bonafide five star Anfield legend.
 
I don't like the term "cult hero" being associated with Bobby. To me cult heroes are for players like Erik Meijer who became popular for things outside of the field. Firmino is a true great of Liverpool, one of a kind player who combined hard work, selflessness, with skills and a little bit of mischief. The traveling Kop paid homage to him for more than 30 minutes in the Villa game. They don't do that for cult heroes. They were honoring a genuine bonafide five star Anfield legend.

Absolutely. Bang on legend. There is a place in my heart for cult heroes but Bobby deserves a spot near the top in the lore of our club.
 
Shame he couldn’t maintain the high standards he set in 17/18.

Was poor under Rodgers, improved and then either got complacent or injured and hasn’t been the same for 4 years now.

Good player but nowhere near a great for me, nevermind a legend.
 
It's crazy to think how much I love Boby yet I've never even heard him speak. Words not needed for a legend that he will always be!

Never really an exceptional player (in a world class sense eg Messi, Ronaldo, Salah level) but the had the perfect blend of workrate, skill flair and positional awareness off and on the ball, that was key to our rise.
 
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Shame he couldn’t maintain the high standards he set in 17/18.

Was poor under Rodgers, improved and then either got complacent or injured and hasn’t been the same for 4 years now.

Good player but nowhere near a great for me, nevermind a legend.

That's a hopeless underestimate of Bobby's ability. Rodgers had not the slightest idea how to use him and stuck him out on the wing if he picked him at all. He's past his best days now, but that happened way more recently than 4 years ago and he's been absolutely integral to some of our best years for a very long time.

Bobby Firmino YNWA..
 
Bobby, Milner and Robertson have been my favourite 3 Klopp era players. Mix of intelligence, skill and attitude that defined those teams.

In denial that 2 of the 3 are gone and the 3rd is waining.
 
That's a hopeless underestimate of Bobby's ability. Rodgers had not the slightest idea how to use him and stuck him out on the wing if he picked him at all. He's past his best days now, but that happened way more recently than 4 years ago and he's been absolutely integral to some of our best years for a very long time.

Bobby Firmino YNWA..
Care to tell me his best season for us so?
 
Daft question, since what it's obviously based on is goals scored when Bobby's value to us has been vastly greater than just that, but easily answered: every season. He's been crucial to many of our best displays throughout Klopp's time in charge. Go ask Klopp himself, or Virgil (who's on record as saying Bobby's the best player he's ever played with), or Gary Neville, or Arsene Wenger, or Thierry Henry, or Jose Mourinho. Then do yourself a favour and stop digging.
 
Daft question, since what it's obviously based on is goals scored when Bobby's value to us has been vastly greater than just that, but easily answered: every season. He's been crucial to many of our best displays throughout Klopp's time in charge. Go ask Klopp himself, or Virgil (who's on record as saying Bobby's the best player he's ever played with), or Gary Neville, or Arsene Wenger, or Thierry Henry, or Jose Mourinho. Then do yourself a favour and stop digging.
My observation was that it’s a shame he’s incredible consistency that season was never matched after and he’s been on the wain for years. I still love him as a player and he is part of my best memories as a fan. Doesn’t make him a legend for me but that’s a very personal subjective view anyway. I would say Mane maintained or even improved his output from year until his last where he dropped off too but was still crucial. Only one of the great three remain now. Sad times.
 
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Pep Lijnders on Roberto Firmino:
"Some players have the capacity to give joy to the people, others have the capacity to give joy and trophies to the people, but only a few give joy, trophies and provide a team with its whole identity. There were some other false nines before who did it, but I feel privileged to be able to say that I was there when Bobby did it for one of the most iconic clubs in football.
"They say that the ball can only smile when the player smiles and, wow, how many times Bobby made an entire stadium smile! So many times he was decisive in pressing the opposition like a madman. So many times he created superiority inside so we could dominate the midfield. The oldest football rules are the best ones: dominate the midfield and you will dominate the game. When Bobby played well, we were so unpredictable.
"Bobby represented our mantra of ‘everyone is responsible for everything’ in the best way possible. He gave colour to our style. The difference between a good team and a top team is the individual quality of the front three. The difference between a top team and one that wins on a regular basis is the fact that the front three put the team above themselves. This is what happened in our successful period with Bobby as the guy who put a constant oil on the fire of pressing. With a striker like Bobby, everything becomes easier.
"He is a special player with an incredible mentality to train hard. That’s why he performed at an unbelievably high level, playing high-intensity football, over such a long time. Some players just need a little bit of guidance and their football intelligence does all the rest. It was and is a joy to stand with him on the training pitch. The smile, the unpredictability, the spontaneity, the street and the big heart. All of this reflects in his game. I will truly miss him." #LFC [james pearce - the athletic]
 
I only look at a players goals per 90 and that's why I've concluded that firmino carried the team this year, shitting on the rest of our forward line.

It turns out if you give the ball to bobby he will score. The others, a little less.

This one hurts. I think gakpo a version of what bobby did, but he won't make it look as good. His technique looks like technique. Bobby looked like he was playing a game.
 
Pep Lijnders on Roberto Firmino:
"Some players have the capacity to give joy to the people, others have the capacity to give joy and trophies to the people, but only a few give joy, trophies and provide a team with its whole identity. There were some other false nines before who did it, but I feel privileged to be able to say that I was there when Bobby did it for one of the most iconic clubs in football.
"They say that the ball can only smile when the player smiles and, wow, how many times Bobby made an entire stadium smile! So many times he was decisive in pressing the opposition like a madman. So many times he created superiority inside so we could dominate the midfield. The oldest football rules are the best ones: dominate the midfield and you will dominate the game. When Bobby played well, we were so unpredictable.
"Bobby represented our mantra of ‘everyone is responsible for everything’ in the best way possible. He gave colour to our style. The difference between a good team and a top team is the individual quality of the front three. The difference between a top team and one that wins on a regular basis is the fact that the front three put the team above themselves. This is what happened in our successful period with Bobby as the guy who put a constant oil on the fire of pressing. With a striker like Bobby, everything becomes easier.
"He is a special player with an incredible mentality to train hard. That’s why he performed at an unbelievably high level, playing high-intensity football, over such a long time. Some players just need a little bit of guidance and their football intelligence does all the rest. It was and is a joy to stand with him on the training pitch. The smile, the unpredictability, the spontaneity, the street and the big heart. All of this reflects in his game. I will truly miss him." #LFC [james pearce - the athletic]

Lijnders must have one hell of a ghost writer ;)
 
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