Think of the Champions League great goal-scorers, and you think Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, right?
Right behind them though, is an unassuming Liverpool forward, who never gets mentioned as a true goal-scorer and is often overlooked in the list of Europe’s potent strikers.
After the group stage, Roberto Firmino stood below only Real Madrid megastar Ronaldo in the competition’s Golden Boot table — and he and teammate Mo Salah are the second highest scoring partnership in Europe behind Neymar and Edinson Cavani at Paris Saint-Germain.
The quiet Brazilian is not one to boast, but he admits to be named in the same breath as the holy trinity of football is one of his main motivations as he creeps up on the best scoring season of his career.
“Of course I want to be at their level – I am trying to give my maximum for the team and trying to be alongside these great players in Europe,” he explained.
“But I only focus on playing a good game. If I play a good game then the goals will appear.”
Firmino plays in a hybrid role between centre forward and number 10, using his incredible energy to act as Liverpool’s first press, to turn defence into attack.
Yet he has increasingly turned goal-poacher too, and has been the main inspiration behind Liverpool this recording the second highest number of goals during the group stage in Champions League history.
For some, the Brazilian has stepped up more after the departure of his close friend and countryman Philippe Coutinho, to take more responsibility, but Firmino argued that the whole team has done that job.
“Coutinho is a great player and of course when he left that put a greater responsibility on everyone else to perform without him,” he said.
“But it is our job to deal with greater responsibility and I think we have done that so far.”
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