Liverpool have fallen flat this season after many imperious years under the tutelage of Jurgen Klopp, and now face a tall order in securing Champions League qualification after pushing for a historic quadruple last term.

Languishing in seventh place in the Premier League this season, nine points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur – though holding two games in hand – the Reds are a mere shade of their former selves and require emphatic reinforcement come the summer.

With the FA Cup fifth round commencing this week, a competition the club have fallen from already, Klopp will be looking to galvanise his squad and set Anfield in rapture with a league victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday evening.

The respective sides have already waged battle on three occasions in 2023: a home draw in the FA Cup third round preceded a narrow Reds victory at Molineux, before Julen Lopetegui’s outfit bulldozed Liverpool into submission with a 3-0 drubbing in the Premier League.

A slip in the road is simply inconceivable, and in order to secure a third victory in four league matches, the Merseyside outfit’s German manager must consider unleashing Roberto Firmino from a starting role against the Old Gold, with the Brazilian stalwart recently returning from injury.

Could Firmino save Liverpool’s season?

Signing from Hoffenheim for £29m in 2015, Firmino’s arrival preceded Klopp’s by a matter of months, and his role as the dynamic centre-forward was paramount to the illustrious success that Liverpool have clinched under their manager’s tutelage.

Scoring 107 goals and supplying 78 assists from 352 outings, the 55-cap gem has been instrumental in winning a plethora of major honours notably including the Champions League and the Premier League.

And this season, having plundered nine goals and four assists from only 16 starts, Firmino has been a shining light amid the drab setting of Liverpool’s campaign.

But having injured himself prior to a Carabao Cup clash against Manchester City in December, the veteran has only just returned to competitive action this month, and the tie against Wolves presents the perfect opportunity for him to return to goalscoring prominence, picking up the baton from where he left off.

As per FBref, the £180k-per-week phenom ranks among the top 9% of forwards for goals, 7% for assists, 2% for progressive passes, 2% for tackles and 1% for interceptions per 90, which highlights the spherical scope of his skill set, capable of producing the whole gamut of skills required for success under Klopp’s wing.

Hailed as a “leader” by Henry Winter, his experience and presence on the pitch have been missed on Merseyside, with the 31-year-old indeed last starting in the top flight against Southampton, where he scored, before the 2022 World Cup.

With Liverpool’s “abject” – as branded by one journalist – season desperate for a sprinkling of its former verve, Firmino’s return to the starting fold could finally get things up and running at the optimum time for Klopp and co.

And given the forward’s purple patch at the start of the season, and the searing requirement for newfound offensive fluidity on Merseyside, cohesion could be revived with Firmino taking centre stage over the business end of the campaign.


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