Beauty and the Beast: Roberto Firmino assumes leading role as Liverpool win ugly again

The 25-year-old was involved in much more than the game’s decisive moment at the Hawthorns, turning in an all-round masterclass in the 1-0 win


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His 12th goal of the season did not part lips in wonderment nor spark mass extolment on social media like his previous one, but Roberto Firmino’s header at West Bromwich Albion was as emphatic as his 25-yard stunner away to Stoke.

West Brom 0-1 Liverpool 

It strengthened Liverpool’s push for a Champions League place and furthered their credentials in conquering these sort of unpleasant encounters – the kind that have too often proved to be their undoing in 2016-17.

On Easter Sunday, the Reds refused to allow that to be the case again and finally overcame a Tony Pulis team on their travels in the league. 

As per Jurgen Klopp’s judgement of their run-in after the Merseyside derby and the season-ending knee injury to Sadio Mane, his charges had to forget about rolling over teams and roll up their sleeves in the battle to consolidate their top-four ambitions. 

The Hawthorns was always going to provide an examination of just how well Liverpool could deal with menace and they succeeded in not just getting stuck in, but seeing an uneasy match out. 

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“It is one of the most difficult places to come because in no game can you feel comfortable,” Klopp said.

“Somebody asked me which result would have kept me a little bit calmer in the last few minutes and I said only 4-0 after 86 minutes! Maybe then I would have felt OK, but now it’s done.

“It was very, very important because showing this concentration level until the end didn’t work each week in the last few months – but today, it was really good and I am happy about this.”

Firmino was at the heart of their attacking verve and defensive diligence. No player created more chances than the 25-year-old and none topped him for ball recoveries. He led the way in take-ons and won 64% of his duels.

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