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Liverpool need someone breathing down Firmino’s neck, says Aldridge

Roberto Firmino, Liverpool
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John Aldridge reckons Liverpool would benefit having someone breathing down Roberto Firmino’s neck for a spot in the starting line-up.

Firmino is perhaps one of the Premier League’s most underrated talents, often overlooked for his inferior goal output compared to Liverpool teammates Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

His quick feet, dribbling ability, ball control, work rate, passing capabilities, and sometimes even his defensive prowess are regularly lauded. But in a game as unforgiving as football, the stats always speak the loudest to the fans.

In this respect, Firmino pales somewhat significantly to his peers and it’s no secret that Liverpool hoped to sign another attacker in Timo Werner before the German ultimately joined rivals Chelsea instead.

The Brazilian forward also boats the very unwanted stat for just one league goal at Anfield in the last 18 months.

Another goalless display in the Premier League champions’ 4-3 opening day win over Leeds United didn’t help matters either. Therefore, Aldridge believes more competition is needed at Anfield to keep Firmino on his toes.

The ex-Reds forward wrote on his column for the Liverpool Echo: “Bobby Firmino still seems to have the shackles around him a little bit.

“He got involved in midfield and showed some nice touches but, again, in the box at Anfield, it wasn’t happening for him.

“He missed a good chance second half after a great link up with his strike partners and obviously we all remember how it took him until the final home game of last season to score a league goal at Anfield.

“I don’t know if that’s still playing on his mind because he didn’t look himself in the box.

“There’s been a lot said about Liverpool’s stance in the transfer market this summer but I can’t help but feel it might do Bobby some good if he did have someone breathing down his neck for his place so he knows he’s got to score goals.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of his and he does some great things for the front three which often goes unnoticed but if you’re a number nine, you have to score goals.

“That’s the bottom line and he knows that. He’s not been doing that at Anfield for the last year or so and it needs to change.

“I understand the club’s general position on transfers this summer but it is a bit of a gamble in a couple of positions because we’ve been relatively lucky with injuries the last couple of seasons but you can’t always bank on that.

“Transfers themselves are also something of a gamble for Liverpool as it’s hard to improve on what we’ve got and also convince players to sign who know they probably won’t be first choice. But I still think we could do with another goalscorer.

“In an ideal world, the fans would have loved to have seen us get Timo Werner or someone of that ilk but it wasn’t possible.

“Freshening the squad up, even if it’s just one player, keeps everyone on their toes and adds to the competition for places.”