Michael Owen believes that Roberto Firmino must become more consistent in order to succeed at Liverpool.
The BT Sport pundit, who spent a total of 13 years at Anfield, has claimed that Firmino only produces one good performance every five or six matches and gives the ball away too much.
Firmino experienced a slow start to life at Liverpool following his £29 million move from Hoffenheim last summer, but has found his feet in recent weeks and scored some important goals - including two against Arsenal last month.
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Owen, though, is still to be convinced by the Brazil international.
“I’m split on him,” the retired striker was quoted as saying by the Mirror. “I thought he did great against Manchester City and Chelsea away earlier in the season, but for a player with that much quality I just want to see that kind of performance on a more regular basis.
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“At the moment it’s maybe one good performance in five or six. He gives the ball away too much, and I don’t see that real angry streak in his game.”
Owen: Firmino must take care of the ball
Owen added: “Listen, if I gave the ball away in a game then for 10 minutes it would be frying my brain. The ball is precious, and I don’t see that in Firmino’s game at the moment. He gives the ball away and it’s almost like ‘oh well, that’s the norm’.
“He’s done well lately. But to be a Liverpool player you have to do it every week. You can have one bad game in five, but at the moment he’s more one good game in five.
“He’s got a lot of quality, but we need to see it more regularly.”
Liverpool fans react to Owen's comments
Here’s how Liverpool fans on Twitter have reacted to Owen’s latest comments…
Firmino is finding his feet at Anfield
While it’s true that Liverpool fans have only seen glimpses of Firmino at his best, Owen’s comments do seem a little on the harsh side.
It was always going to take the South American a little bit of time to adjust to English football but he’s shown enough over recent weeks to suggest he’ll prove to be an excellent signing for the Reds.
As well as the two goals in the 3-3 draw against Arsenal, Firmino also netted twice during last month’s dramatic 5-4 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road.
He also scored in the 2-2 draw against Sunderland and provided an assist during last weekend’s 6-0 win over Aston Villa.
Klopp is a big fan
It was Brendan Rodgers who brought Firmino to Liverpool but Jurgen Klopp was a big fan of the player when he was plying his trade with Hoffenheim.
“He’s a skilled player,” Klopp was quoted as saying about Firmino by the Mirror last October. “I’d say a year ago for a few months for sure he was the best player in the Bundesliga.
“From the first day everyone could see he can become a very, very good player... when I heard Liverpool took him, I thought 'good choice’.”
Will Roberto Firmino be a hit or a miss at Liverpool? Let us know by leaving a comment below.