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Sunday Supplement: Roberto Firmino's importance to Liverpool can't be proved by stats

"It's not on the stats, you just need to watch and enjoy it. Sometimes I think he goes under the radar and he's not appreciated enough."

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Brazilian journalist Natalie Gedra underlines Roberto Firmino's importance to Liverpool on the Sunday Supplement

Roberto Firmino's stats will never paint a true story of his ability as Brazilian journalist Natalie Gedra underlines his importance to Liverpool.

Firmino started on the bench for Liverpool in their 3-1 win over Newcastle but was thrust into the action when Divock Origi suffered an ankle injury and the Brazilian set up Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah for Liverpool's final two goals.

Despite just playing 53 minutes, Firmino grabbed the official man-of-the-match award.

Even Newcastle boss Steve Bruce conceded Firmino was the difference: "His movement and the way he plays, Liverpool are as good as there is with him in that position."

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool's 3-1 win over Newcastle in the Premier League

While Mane and Salah scored 22 goals apiece last season in Liverpool's extraordinary run to a runners-up finish in the Premier League, Firmino netted 12 and only recorded six assists.

Firmino is once again lagging behind his strike partners with just two goals compared to their four this season but ESPN Sports Correspondent Gedra, who is Brazilian, thinks analysing his statistics aren't a true reflection of his integral role for Jurgen Klopp's side.

She said on Sunday Supplement: "There's a discussion in Brazil about if he is the best player to have ever played in the Premier League and the counter argument is that he's never led in assists, he's never won the Premier League but that's the thing about Firmino - it's hard to measure how much he does for the team.

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"It's not on the stats, you just need to watch and enjoy it. Sometimes I think he goes under the radar and he's not appreciated enough because his stats are not outstanding but he does so much more than that. His assist against Newcastle was just brilliant for Salah's goal.

"The impression that I have about Firmino is that his vision of the game just keeps improving and when you think he's reached the top because for the past few seasons, he's just been brilliant and now he keeps getting better and better. He reads perfectly his team's needs - it's impressive. We keep talking about how unselfish he is, but his cleverness on the pitch is so crucial for this Liverpool side."

Jason Burt - of the Daily Telegraph - agreed without Firmino, Liverpool wouldn't operate at the same level.

"Firmino and Mane are a great combination and Firmino is the oil in the engine for Liverpool," he said.

"He makes Mane and Salah better because they are direct and very clever players, but he is the one that has that subtlety. He sets the press too - he is the one that presses first, closes down the opposition and it's that work rate as well. They're getting better and better.

Roberto Firmino of Liverpool acknowledges the fans following his teams victory in the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at St Mary's Stadium on August 17, 2019
Image: Firmino has scored twice and registered four assists in six games this season

"What I really like about this Liverpool team and what they did in the summer has allowed the team to develop more than anything else. They've thought 'we'll put our foot on the ball in the transfer market, we don't need to bring in loads of new players, maybe we'll bring in a few next summer, but this season is the one to capitalise on what we did last year and push on with that'.

"They've effectively got new players coming in in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez and these players haven't peaked yet. This could be the season they peak as a team. You look at them at the moment with five wins from five and those three up front, you would go a long way to beat it."

'Firmino is priceless'

Firmino has established himself as a firm fan-favourite but his importance to this Liverpool team is also recognised by his team-mates.

"I'm running out of words to describe him," Trent Alexander-Arnold said after the win against Newcastle.

"He's an unbelievable player. I've said it before - he's priceless to us. For us he's the best player we could have. He's the one that makes everything tick, he's the glue that holds everything together.

"The quality he showed here - his work on and off the ball, especially that second assist - was world class. He is a world-class player."

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