Every Liverpool fan adores Salah, and the rest of the footballing world will tell you that Salah is arguably top 5 player right now in the world. His mazy runs in the box with his tricky left foot is something that we will never get tired of seeing. We all love our front 3, and Salah deservedly gets the most love.
But I want to tell you why I think Firmino is the most important of that front 3.
Firmino reminds me a lot of Benzema. Like Benzema, Firmino is excellent at dropping down a bit to play with the midfield, as well as combine down either wing. Excellent with both feet, they seem to mesh well with the wingers and fullbacks, therefore leaving more space for others to make runs behind.
And this is what Firmino brings to the table. Without Firmino dropping down, there may be no room for Salah or Mane to run onto. Without Firmino dragging defenders to a half space, there may be no space for the opposite winger to run onto to receive a perfect ball from – you guessed it, Firmino (obviously it is not him every time).
Not only is he good and dropping with the midfield and overloading a certain half space, but he knows exactly when he needs to as well. He knows that if the opposing centre back commands his midfielder to pick up Firmino when he drops down, then he will make a darting run behind the defence which the opposition must respect. Then Mane or Salah can move into that space that Firmino just left, and receive the ball there while being able to take on the defenders because Firmino just made the run that dragged the defenders that are normally in that area somewhere else.
He knows that if an opposing fullback is having an especially tough time containing Mane or Salah, then he will join and look to overload that specific side. This means the opposition must bring in more numbers to defend that and deal with that threat, which means the opposite side winger has so much more space to make runs and receive balls into space.
And it should be noted that he does all this while scoring and assisting.
Firmino has the same amount of goals and double the assists of Salah in the Champions League, with less shots taken. Keep in mind that this is the competition that we are in the final in. Firmino Allows Salah and Mane to flourish AND does the goalscoring and assisting that they do as well. It should be noted that he has also played the most minutes out of any field player in the Champions League. And typically, the most important players play the most minutes.Like I said, he has the most.
I love Salah and Mane. But I think it is Firmino that allows those 2 to be who they are. What is great is that Firmino is ok with all of this. He is ok with Salah getting all the praise. He just wants to help the team in any way he can. Salah may be the better player, but I believe that Firmino is absolutely the most important.