Former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness has once again compared Roberto Firmino to Kenny Dalglish following his hat-trick heroics against Arsenal.
A sensational treble from the Brazilian coupled with solo efforts from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane saw Liverpool go nine points ahead of Man City at the top of the Premier League on Saturday.
How does Firmino compare to Daglish? Five key things to know…
- Firmino is a forward or attacking midfielder, while Daglish played as a centre-forward or striker.
- Souness, who played with the Scotland Football Hall of Famer for six years at Liverpool, previously said Firmino is “Kenny Dalglish with a suntan and smaller backside.”
- It is high praise indeed; Dalglish is considered by some to be Liverpool’s greatest player of all time.
- Firmino has never scored over 30 goals in a single season. Dalglish so it three times.
- Dalglish won six first division titles while Firmino is yet to win the Premier League, though that could change this season.
Souness told the Times that Firmino’s spatial awareness and movement reminded him of his former teammate Dalglish.
Souness also praised Liverpool’s team spirit after Salah allowed Firmino to take a penalty for his hat-trick.
“Roberto Firmino is a clever footballer,” Souness wrote.
“I liken him to Kenny Dalglish because he seems to find the space and the time to deliver cute passes and score goals.
“I said that six months ago to Kenny’s daughter, Kelly, live on television because he plays in the areas that hurt people. It was interesting they let him have the second penalty for his hat-trick, that suggests team spirit is good.”
Despite the Reds’ undefeated run in the Premier League, Daglish argues that his former club are not perfect and require more creativity in midfield.
“Liverpool are not perfect, yet their weakness is not one opponents can exploit,” Souness added. “They need more creativity in midfield but when you have that front three, all you have to do is get the ball quickly and early to them to do the damage.
“The match at home to Liverpool is one that City cannot afford to lose if they want to retain their title. It’s not just the points they would be behind Liverpool, but, psychologically, it would damage them, too.”
How creative is Liverpool’s midfield?
The only Liverpool midfielders to create assists for their teammates this season are James Milner and Fabinho who have contributed two each so far.
But who needs midfielders to be creative when the Reds’ attacking trident is firing on all cylinders. Last season’s Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah currently joint leads the league for goals scored (13) and has contributed the most assists (7) for his club.
Instead of creating bags of goals Liverpool’s midfield have played a more understated role this season in closing down passing channels, breaking up play and acting as a buffer for their defenders.
Garth Crooks has been so impressed by James Milner this season that he said the Englishman was in his top three contenders for Footballer of the Year.
“I felt sorry for Nathaniel Clyne. When a manager has a player like James Milner, who can play in a variety of positions, everyone else in the team has to be on the top of their game,” Crooks wrote in his column for the BBC.
“Milner came in for Clyne against Wolves and was as dependable and as solid as you would expect from one of the most experienced players in the country. He is still in my top three contenders for Footballer of the Year.”