Roberto Firmino has big shoes to fill in the absence of Philippe Coutinho

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Liverpool summer signing Roberto Firmino could start in his favoured no.10 role on Saturday when the Reds travel to Manchester United.

The Brazilian has so-far been used on the wing when played by Brendan Rodgers, but following playmaker Philippe Coutinho's red card against West Ham two weeks ago and subsequent ban could find himself shifted more central.

Losing a key player is always a problem for any side against any opposition, though of all players and all opposition, Rodgers would have liked Coutinho to be available for a game of the highest magnitude.


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Despite the loss, you'd forgive the Northern Irishman for thinking that he has a like-for-like replacement in the form of Firmino. The Liverpool boss bought the 23-year-old from German club 1899 Hoffenheim in the summer and will be expecting his £29 million man to deliver the goods if called upon.

Firmino brings a game similar to that of his suspended team-mate. The Brazilian provides the pace and creativity often put on show by Coutinho and works best when able to drive at opponents, with his dribbling and speed particularly effective.

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The only difference between the two, arguably, is Coutinho's inclining to strike from long range, though Firmino proved against West Ham that he is capable of shooting from range when he lashed a shot from 25-yards out and hit post.

If there was ever a time for Firmino to stand up and be counted, though, it's against rivals United, with all-the-more importance placed on the clash due to both sides' need to re-establish form - the pair sit on seven points and have struggled for goals.

The Theatre of Dreams awaits Firmino, then, and while a lot of publicity surrounding the crunch match will be revolved around United new boy Anthony Martial, the Brazilian forward will be hoping to quietly go about his business and announce himself on the big stage.

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