Sharp shooter: Why Firmino and not Salah will be key to a Liverpool victory
Liverpool versus Arsenal is one of the cornerstones of the English top-flight.
There was Liverpool’s dominance throughout the 1980s. Then arguably the greatest ever league finish when Arsenal beat the Reds at Anfield to seal the title in 1989.
Since then, the pair have played out some memorable matches with the likes of Robbie Fowler and Thierry Henry taking centre-stage.
But back to present day and Liverpool may have a trump card when the two meet this evening.
Only Fowler with nine goals has been more prolific than current Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino (five) against the Gunners.
We take a look at why the samba star could be the pivotal man if Liverpool are to march on…
Mohamed Salah has rightly taken a helluva lot of praise for Liverpool’s ascent up the league. But buzzing around him is the wiry figure of Firmino.
The Brazilian striker was bought by Brendan Rodgers but is now the fulcrum of the Liverpool attack under Jurgen Klopp.
He allows Salah and Sadio Mane to grab the headlines and most of the goals. But it’s his movement and assists (seven apiece in his last three Premier League seasons) that are pivotal.
Firmino only has four goals to his name this campaign compared to Salah’s 12 strikes in the league.
But he’s arguably their most crucial piece of the attacking jigsaw.
The ‘Egyptian King’ status is reserved for Salah. But Firmino and Mane by no means play second fiddle.
As mentioned, Firmino has five goals and three assists against Arsenal, including the equaliser in the 3-3 draw at the Emirates Stadium in December 2017.
Mane has scored goals in the Champions League semi-final and final which has thrust him into Liverpool fans hearts.
But if Salah produces pieces of beauty and Mane often wonders the fans, then Firmino’s might is also a trait worthy of a King.
The hectic Christmas fixture schedule could have something to do with Firmino’s off colour performance against Newcastle United on Boxing Day.
But if there’s one game that can spark a bright performance from him then it’s Arsenal.
The 27-year-old has scored in wins both wins at Anfield in 2017 and in a trio of 3-3 draws since 2016.
He’s also notched in the Champions League last-eight against Manchester City and most recently an injury-time winner against Paris-Saint Germain.
This all adds to long list of why Liverpool fans love him and a reason why today could yet again be his day.
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