Klopp praises Firmino's ever-present influence

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino volleying the ball from a Philippe Coutinho cross to score their second goal against Swansea at Anfield on Tuesday. They ran out 5-0 winners against the bottom side.
Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino volleying the ball from a Philippe Coutinho cross to score their second goal against Swansea at Anfield on Tuesday. They ran out 5-0 winners against the bottom side.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said that he was delighted with his side's second-half performance, after the Reds thrashed the Premier League's bottom side Swansea City 5-0 thanks to four goals after the interval.

Anfield appeared destined for a comfortable home win on Tuesday, but the victory did not materialise until the floodgates opened in the 52nd minute when Roberto Firmino scored their second goal.

Klopp singled out the Brazilian forward for special praise after the win which extended their unbeaten run to 11 league games.

The 26-year-old's brace took his tally for the season to 16, having netted nine in his last nine matches, scoring twice on three occasions during that time.

"I appreciate Roberto's effort and performance always," said Klopp.

"I am happy that he scored twice, but I could not say how many he has scored so far in the season because I feel he is always involved and always in and around the dangerous situations for the opponents.

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    Liverpool goals (38 goals, 25 assists) in all competitions Roberto Firmino has been involved in under Jurgen Klopp - more than any other player.

"In the first half, he was right full-back, he was left full-back, he was everywhere. At the end, he scored two goals so that's nice, very nice."

Playmaker Philippe Coutinho underlined his importance to the Reds ahead of next week's transfer window with a fine performance.

The Brazil international scored his 12th goal of the season with a fine curling effort as early as the sixth minute, and provided an assist for compatriot Firmino to net Liverpool's second.

Coutinho, who was strongly linked with a move to Barcelona in the build-up to the season, has enjoyed his most prolific goalscoring month in a Liverpool shirt, finding the net seven times in December.

Trent Alexander-Arnold's determination saw him score the third in the 65th minute before Firmino's second goal just a minute later.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain then finished from close range eight minutes from the final whistle.

Klopp was pleased his players were able to rectify their lacklustre display in the first half.

"I was not disappointed at half-time but, in the second half, we were better," the German said.

"I think the first three goals were from counter-pressing situations, that's good and it looks like when you see the result is 5-0 that it was an easy game but it wasn't.

"It was really hard work. It is a perfect result for us, nobody injured I don't think.

"Important three points, five goals, clean sheet so it's all good."

Meanwhile, Liverpool defender Jon Flanagan has been charged with assault following an incident in the city centre last Friday.

A Merseyside Police spokesman said: "'He has been released on conditional police bail and will appear before Liverpool City Magistrates' Court on Jan 2, 2018."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2017, with the headline 'Klopp praises Firmino's ever-present influence'. Print Edition | Subscribe