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'Everything gels for Liverpool when Firmino plays' - Brazilian not focused on goals, says Heskey

goal.com, 9 April 2020, 09:41
The former Reds striker has paid tribute to a forward who, like he once did, places greater emphasis on collective effort than individual acclaim

Roberto Firmino's presence in the Liverpool team ensures that "everything gels properly", says Emile Heskey, with the Brazilian's selfless attitude considered to be crucial to the Reds cause.

Jurgen Klopp has talked up the qualities of his South American frontman on a regular basis down the years.

Firmino has rarely been prolific over the course of his career, but his game is about much more than end product.

More teams

The same was once true of Heskey, with the ex-England international filling a similar role for club and country.

He is pleased to see Liverpool embracing selfless qualities in the present, with Firmino as important to the Premier League leaders as any other member of their superstar cast.

Heskey told 90min: "I just think everything gels properly when he's playing.

"He's not necessarily worried about 'this is my job and I need to do this'.

"You see him chasing back and tackling, you see him playing left wing and chase the guy up and down the wing. Then you'll see him up front, getting the ball and holding it up and bringing someone in. It's just a different variety of stuff that he does, he's not just focused on 'I must score goals'.

"I'm a forward, so I look at the runs he's making, the space he's creating. He seems to get space where nobody gets space.

"He creates his space, his first touch is brilliant because he takes it away from players, so he can have time to look around and assess what he's got to do next. He's great at that."

Heskey was not as widely heralded back in his day as Firmino is in the present, but believes he actually had it easier as his outings for Liverpool and England often saw him paired alongside the likes of Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler.

He added: "It was easier for us because we played with two strikers.

"As long as one of you were scoring, the other one could do all the other work."

Firmino has plenty of assistance when it comes to leading the line in 2019-20, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane completing a fearsome attacking trident that has Liverpool on top of domestic, European and global games.

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