Jurgen Klopp has backed Bobby Firmino ahead of the 2022/23 campaign, insisting that the Brazilian international ‘is back’ and ready to go after his prior struggles with injury.
With Diogo Jota and new boy Darwin Nunez all vying for the centre-forward spot in the forward line, however, the former Hoffenheim hitman will have quite the mountain to climb to earn a regular starting role in the manager’s first-XI.
“We know how good Sadio is, we will realise how good he was for us in moments because there were just ‘Sadio moments’ when no one else can do it like him,” Klopp told Sky Sports News.
“That’s not a bad thing because two years ago Diogo Jota came in and Diogo did amazing stuff for us.
“Bobby Firmino had probably not the season we all expected because of injuries but in training Bobby is back, 100 per cent. He’s a world class player.”
Such a feat shouldn’t be ruled out of hand, of course, as the ex-Mainz tactician has shown he’s always prepared to reward form and will no doubt remember just how critical the No.9 was to the Reds’ style of play.
There’ll be an upcoming potential test for our link-up man against Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United in Thailand on Tuesday with fans also likely to get a glimpse of the likes of our £64m signing and Fabio Carvalho on the day.
Though it undoubtedly will present Klopp with something of a selection headache should Firmino defy expectations and impress alongside members of our star-studded attack, it will be a highly welcome one in a season where the aim will be to surpass last term’s attempt at the quadruple.
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We’d be foolish to count out the 30-year-old from being actively involved in the upcoming campaign – particularly should we manage to get anywhere near close to the 63-game mark reached from 2021/22.
Firmino’s performance against Inter Milan in the Champions League last term, amongst several other outings, stands strong in the memory when considering the impact he can offer on the pitch when invited to make a difference.
Klopp will warn fans and rivals to rule out the Brazilian at their peril and rightly so.