Jurgen Klopp has defended Roberto Firmino‘s position in the Liverpool team and said the Brazilian forward “plays twelve instruments in our orchestra” amid criticism of his goal output for the Premier League champions.
Firmino is expected to line-up alongside a fit again Mohamed Salah when Liverpool face Atalanta at Anfield in the Champions League on Wednesday after the Egypt international was given the all-clear to return to action following a negative COVID-19 test at the weekend.
Despite the 29-year-old scoring just two goals in 13 appearances for Liverpool this season — the most recent coming in Sunday’s 3-0 home win against Leicester City — Klopp rejected suggestions that Firmino does not score enough goals as a striker.
The Liverpool manager said Firmino offers the team much more than the ability score: “The team is like an orchestra, you need to have different people with different instruments.
“Some of them are loud, some or not very loud, but they are all important for the rhythm and Bobby is incredibly important. He plays something like twelve instruments in our orchestra and he is very important for our rhythm as a team.
“Bobby can play without them as well, but I see everyone on the pitch and if you play with numbers, I like it a lot. Scoring goals is always important for Bobby, but he is a complete footballer and I am not concerned about anything with him. But I know that, from time to time, it happens and he scores a goal.
“His goal [against Leicester] was very important, but what I love most about the goal is the reaction of the boys. We always celebrate a goal, but that goal was really emotional because the players read newspapers and saw there was some criticism [of Firmino], so they were really happy for him to score the goal.
“But you have seen us play, so you know how important Bobby is to us.”
Liverpool face Atalanta as leaders of Group D having beaten the Italian side 5-0 in Bergamo earlier this month.
And Klopp confirmed that his team will be able to call on the services of Salah after the former Chelsea and Roma player missed the Leicester win following a positive COVID-19 test while on international duty with Egypt.
“Mo is available. He has trained and all the tests were negative,” Klopp said.