Jurgen Klopp has sung the praises of Roberto Firmino by claiming the Brazilian has become more important to Liverpool than Philippe Coutinho was as he pushes for a new and improved deal for the forward.
Firmino has flourished under Klopp as he has become an integral part of the high pressing style the German is renowned for imparting on his squad. With 22 goals to his name already this season the 26-year-old is stamping his mark in England and has the Reds scrambling over tabling a bumper new deal.
Firmino's current contract runs until 2020 but such is his importance at Anfield the club have opened talks with his representatives to lock him down to a new deal which reflects his contribution to the side.
A move Klopp is in full support of having been part of Coutinho's transfer saga throughout the summer and into the start of the season.
"It is very important for both sides. Everything we are doing, the way we play, the way we give him the opportunity constantly to play, he deserves that. He deserves that because his work rate is outstanding but it helped him a lot to step up," Klopp said, via the Guardian.
It's easy to say Bobby doesn't get the credit he deserves, goes underappreciated etc. without realising when he creates goals through his incredible football intelligence. There are very few players better than Firmino in world football at the moment.— Don Kopleone (@donkopleone) February 25, 2018
“He became a different player here. Other teams can say: ‘Hmmm, he’s really good’ but it is not sure they will play the same way and use him as a nine or a 10 or they’ll use him out on the wings. It is never sure but it is important to keep these players who are at a good age and when there is still space for improvement.”
“You saw our games when Phil came deep in centre-mid. We didn’t want him to come deep all the time to be honest – it was more of a natural thing. If you play with three midfielders, you need two sixes and one who is more of a 10.
"With Phil we were giving him a four-yard pass and you don’t need that. Now we don’t have this dominant player – ‘Give it to me, give it to me, give it to me’ – that’s how it is.
"Roberto was always a dominant player; that’s why he drops into midfield and gets the ball and loses a few balls where you have a heart attack, but then he wins it back and starts an attack.
"It is not the biggest difference but there are a few decisive differences in the last few games. Maybe the biggest compliment is that nobody thought in the last few games: ‘With Phil it would have been different,'" he added.