Last season, The Tomkins Times introduced a monthly player in focus feature. It was generally used to highlight the contribution of the man who received the most votes in the post-match polls that month, though no repeat players were selected across the campaign to keep things interesting.
Some choices were very obvious – Mané, Salah, van Dijk – some less so – Keita, Milner, Shaqiri – but all were worthy of analysis at a particular point in the season. Yet one man, arguably the player who ties the whole marvellous thing together was omitted: Roberto Firmino.
Seems weird, no?
Si señor. But then in raw numbers, 2018/19 was something of a step back for the Brazilian. The season before, Bobby had assisted 16 goals, a total which remains the best single season tally by any Liverpool player in the Jürgen Klopp era, and scored 27 too. Had it not been for that debut campaign from Mohamed Salah, your player of the season was right there.
By those standards, the total of 23 goals Firmino contributed to last season – 16 scored, seven assisted – does seem a little modest. He was deservedly voted TTT’s man of the match following his hat-trick against Arsenal, but that was the only poll he topped in these parts last term.
It’s early days for 2019/20 – the perils of being player of the month for August – but the initial signs suggest the former Hoffenheim man is back to his best. According to the good folks who vote around here, Firmino was Liverpool’s third best player against Arsenal, second against Southampton, and King Bobby against Norwich and Burnley.
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