Jurgen Klopp finally got a first win under his belt as Liverpool manager against Bournemouth on Wednesday evening.
It will be a monumental weight off the German's shoulders, especially getting his maiden victory on English soil. Klopp sent out a new-look team to meet the Cherries in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup. In his first three games in charge, Klopp made just one change; however, he made no less than nine on Wednesday.
A debut was handed to Connor Randall, a first start to Joao Teixeria and Callum Branagan began the match in the heart of midfield. Despite all three lacking first-team experience, they all performed solidly and Klopp will be more than happy to use them again.
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What was lacking under Brendan Rodgers at the start of the season was passion and identity. Despite having a team flooded with internationals worth hundreds of millions of pounds, the lack of character under Rodgers was alarming.
Wednesday's performance against Bournemouth was by far the most positive during the Klopp era. His managerial philosophy encourages praise and it is clearly rubbing off on his squad. He's nurtured the likes of Marco Rues, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski in the past, turning them from boys to into world class players.
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Klopp could well do the same with Roberto Firmino at Anfield. Firmino has flattered to deceive in the early stages of his Anfield career.
Purchased for £29 million this summer from Hoffenheim, he did not hit the ground running under Rodgers. He struggled to settle and was unfavourably stuck out on the wing, and criticised by Rodgers following his performance away against Manchester United.
However, he played a more central role against Eddie Howe's men and looked significantly more comfortable. His awareness on the ball was excellent and linked up with his team-mates superbly throughout the match.
Firmino was Liverpool's chief protagonist, with most of their attacks come directly through him. His vision to find Teixeira's run that led to Nathaniel Clyne's goal was top-notch. His movement seen him burst into dangerous positions and subtle changes of direction created space for team-mates, and he was awarded man of the match for his efforts.
He tested Adam Federici several times too, dragged two shots wide either side of the break, and probably should have scored on both occasions.
Klopp labelled the Brazil international the best player in the Bundesliga for some months last term before kick-off against the Cherries.
Considering Germany's top league boasted the likes of Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben and Manuel Neuer, who all inspired Bayern Munich to the title, as well as Kevin de Bruyne who created plenty of headlines, it was a bold statement from Klopp.
The stats for Firmino's final season at Hoffenheim are impressive. He racked up seven goals and ten assists from 33 appearances and averaged a shot every half-an-hour, according to WhoScored.
He too has the Klopp mentality desires already and averaged almost three tackles a match last season. For an attacking midfielder, the 24-year-old is willing to work hard for his team-mates in order to win the ball back when not in possession, which is fairly unusual.
A prime example was hit effort that went wide in the second half. Although it was not directly from a tackle, Firmino put pressure on the ball and forced a mistake that granted him a golden opportunity he failed to take. It's interesting that Klopp allowed Firmino to play in the number 10 role through the middle.
During his short stint as manager, the 48-year-old has played both Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana - both traditional central attacking midfielders - out wide and Klopp has picked Emre Can, James Milner and Lucas as his midfield three.
Firmino does face stiff competition to keep his place when Liverpool travel to Chelsea on Sunday. Coutinho has struggled in recent weeks, particularly playing out on the left-hand side and would relish the chance of taking on his compatriots role.
On raw ability, Coutinho is still ahead of Firmino in the pecking order. However, the latter has given his manager plenty to think about ahead of the weekend tie at Stamford Bridge.
Whether he starts against Chelsea or not, Firmino looks almost guaranteed to be on the field from the start when Liverpool travel to face Rubin Kazan in the Europa League next week and will be determined to build on his previous efforts.
Do you think Firmino can become a first team regular under Klopp this season?
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