Liverpool midfielder Roberto Firmino produced an 'unacceptable' moment against Newcastle United after he pulled out of a tackle, according to club hero John Aldridge.
Writing for the Liverpool Echo, the former Reds star has insisted that something hasn't looked right with Firmino during his past couple of outings.
The Brazilian ace endured a torrid afternoon as Jurgen Klopp's side succumbed to a 2-0 defeat at St James' Park, and Aldridge hasn't held back in his criticism of the club's summer signing from Hoffenheim.
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Aldridge wrote: "Roberto Firmino is playing as if something is wrong, mentally and physically. He’s been absolutely redundant the last two games after such a great display at Man City.
"It can’t just be the fact his mate Coutinho has been missing.
"Christian Benteke played badly – he was stood outside the box when two good crosses came in, one from Moreno – but it was Firmino who made him look worse. Everything Benteke needed from him was absent in a horrible display.
"He needed him to be the link man but he wasn’t there. Benteke won his flick-ons but he was nowhere near him.
"Firmino was the missing link and things improved when Adam Lallana, who played well, came on. It was like chalk and cheese. The Brazilian also pulled out of a challenge that was 55-45 in his favour. Liverpool fans won’t accept that. I’ve been going for 50 years and I know it’s unacceptable.
"If the ball is there to be won you win it. He’s going to have to learn to get stuck in."
He's right, but Firmino needs time
Ultimately, you can hardly blame Aldridge for growing frustrated with Firmino. After the player's exceptional performance against Manchester City last month, Liverpool fans would have expected him to go from strength-to-strength on Merseyside.
The dynamic midfielder hasn't hit the required level recently, but the Reds faithful must remain patient. Firmino is still adjusting to the Premier League and may well continue to produce inconsistent performances over the coming months.
There will come a time, of course, when the 24-year-old will have to express himself on a weekly basis, but Klopp and Co. shouldn't be worried at this stage. It's clear for all to see that Firmino is extremely talented, so the club's hierarchy must handle his development correctly over the coming months.
With just one goal in 12 Premier League games, Firmino may well be disappointed with his start to life on English soil, but he should remain optimistic in pursuit of long-term success.
Liverpool fans: do you expect Firmino to succeed at your club? Have your say below!
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