Hosting their biggest rivals Manchester United at Anfield, Liverpool came into the game on a high after their inspiring attack and resilience brought them a precious point from the Premier League leaders Arsenal just few days prior. Roberto Firmino, in particular, was the one many fans had high hopes for after slotting two quality goals in the game.
Firmino's sparkling offensive display against Arsenal suggested that he finally had his breakthrough moment and was ready to shoulder Liverpool’s heavy attacking responsibility as Adam Lallana, Christian Benteke and Jordon Ibe had all struggled to provide consistent contributions.
And yet, the £29 million forward was helpless in Liverpool’s 0-1 defeat against the Red Devils and came out as the biggest disappointment among the Anfield faithful.
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Throughout the game, the Brazilian showed glimpses of quality in his passing through some combination plays and an accurate long-range cross-field ball to James Milner in the first-half, but the rest of his performance was, in contrast, rather low-quality.
The Brazilian was presented with a glorious chance only nine minutes into the game when David de Gea came out to defend Lucas’s looping pass. Lallana saw his attempt saved by the Spaniard and Firmino reacted quickest but could shoot wide.
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Liverpool's makeshift striker got his second chance to break the deadlock in the 38th minute when Emre Can’s pass sent him into a potential one-on-one situation.
However Firmino's poor first touch sent him into a difficult angle before he went to ground in search of a penalty under minimal pressure from Anthony Martial - a decision that demonstrated a lack of technique, determination or confidence.
The former Hoffenheim forward's afternoon got worse on the hour mark during Alberto Moreno's hard-fought counter-attack. Instead of stretching United's back-line to create the much-needed space, Firmino decided to run towards Moreno - leaving both of them surrounded by four defenders with little they could do.
In the closing stages of the game, Firmino's confidence was totally shot to pieces when he tried to control the ball three yards out rather than putting it into the back of the net despite suspicions he was offside, which turned out to be needless.
Roberto Firmino had certainly made progress in recent performances to show he was adapting to his Liverpool transition, but the lack of killer instinct and clinical finishes in front of goal are still hindering him from truly living up to his hefty price tag and reputation.
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