Klopp: A team is like an orchestra and Firmino plays 12 of the instruments

By Sports Desk November 24, 2020

Jurgen Klopp reiterated Roberto Firmino's importance to Liverpool and hailed the forward as a "complete footballer" amid recent criticism.

Firmino's place in the side has been called into question by some given his lack of goals and the form of recent signing Diogo Jota, who is the first player to score in his first four top-flight home games for the club.

However, the Brazil international looked back to his best in Sunday's 3-0 win over Leicester City as he scored his second goal of the season in an impressive all-round display.

His 48 passes, 41 successful passes and six shots were the most he has managed in a Premier League game this season.

Klopp has constantly stuck by Firmino and used a musical anology to stress his game is about far more than just putting the ball in the net.

"Scoring is always important but Bobby is a complete footballer," he said at a news conference ahead of Wednesday's Champions League meeting with Atalanta.

"A football team is like an orchestra - you need people for different instruments. Some are loud and some are not that loud but all are important for the rhythm, and Bobby plays like 12 instruments in our orchestra. 

"I'm not concerned about anything for Bobby. The main thing I liked about his goal was the celebration. It was almost emotional because the players read newspapers and there's been some criticism."

Firmino is in contention to start against Atalanta, as is fellow attacker Mohamed Salah after testing negative for coronavirus.

Salah missed Liverpool's win over Leicester after contracting COVID-19 on international duty with Egypt, but he was cleared to return to training on Monday in a big boost for Klopp.

"Mo has trained and looked really good. He gave a negative test like the rest and is available," the German coach said. "We have to see what we can do with that."

Liverpool were without a number of injured key players at the weekend and Klopp is not expecting too many changes to his squad for Wednesday's match.

"All the others, there is no news," he said. "One looks to be a little closer, the others not so. That is the situation we are in. I don't want to talk about that too much."

Curtis Jones is one of those to have profited from the likes of Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara being out injured, featuring in nine of their 15 matches in all competitions this season.

No Liverpool player attempted more passes in the opposition half (37) than Jones against Leicester - tied with Andy Robertson - and he also recovered possession nine times, a joint-high alongside James Milner.

Klopp has been pleased with the way the young midfielder has seamlessly slotted into the side, which has also aided his development off the pitch.

"It is very positive. I'm not too surprised about it," Klopp said. "He is an exceptional talent. Everyone can see what an exceptional player he can be. 

"When you are in an environment like a top-class football team and are one of the top talents, it will add things to him as a person, too. I'm pleased for him."

Liverpool lead the way at the top of Champions League Group D thanks to three wins from three, including a thumping 5-0 victory away to Atalanta in the reverse meeting three weeks ago.

The Reds have not won multiple games against Italian sides in European competition since 2007-08, when seeing off Inter in both legs of the Champions League last 16, and Klopp is anticipating a tougher test at Anfield.

"They are a threat even without a point to prove," he said. "We were exceptional [in Italy]. We did everything right. It all came together. 

"We know that game has nothing to do with tomorrow. They're a top team with a special way to play. I expect problems in this game."

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