Liverpool fans revel in Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino's partnership
The duo shone during the 2-0 win over Southampton.
Such has been Mohamed Salah's brilliance for Liverpool this season that it's been easy to overlook the excellent form of Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian is currently playing the best football of his career, bringing his season's tally to 20 goals with the well-taken opener against the Saints.
With 20 goals and 11 assists to his name, Firmino has illustrated what a productive and consistent striker he is. Much of the consternation over Liverpool's chances as title contenders at the start of the campaign centred around the lack of a prolific goal-getter up top.
Indeed, Jurgen Klopp failed to sign a recognised striker in the summer but it has not been to the detriment of his side's progress this season. Salah has been just as effective in that regard, with 29 goals in 35 games in all competitions an outstanding return for a player who is not a striker.
In addition to the Egyptian's insatiable appetite, Firmino has been a class act. Not a lot of people pegged him as the 20-goal-a-season striker Liverpool supposedly needed but, here we are in February, and Firmino has 20 goals.
Emboldened by the heightened responsibility following Philippe Coutinho's departure, the 26-year-old has flourished, impressing not just with his assured touch in front of goal, but his movement and understanding with his teammates, namely Salah.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 11, 2018
Against Southampton, Salah set up Firmino for the opener before a roles reversal for the second. For the first, arriving after just six minutes, Salah spotted Firmino's darting run into the area. Drawing the defender towards him, Salah dinked a deft pass inside from which the striker competently finished beyond Alex McCarthy.
The second was a snapshot of the duo's telepathic understanding, though, Firmino returning a pass immediately with a backheel to meet the run of Salah, who slotted the ball home for number two.
Their manager was pleased, too.
"Our boys are important for us," Klopp said during his post-match press conference. "What I love is, of course, their skills and attitude, but the work rate is outstanding.
"Both get the profit from the style of play, that's for sure as well. We play in the areas where they like to have the ball. In this strong league you cannot be third without fantastic players and yes, they are two of them."
Although Sadio Mane couldn't quite join in on the beautiful link-up play, Klopp will be hugely satisfied with the work of his attacking trio ahead of the Champions League clash at Porto on Wednesday night.
Buoyed by this comfortable win over struggling Southampton, they will approach that trip to Portugal in fine spirits. With a clean sheet and the satisfaction of closing the gap on second-placed Manchester United to just two points to boot, Liverpool fans have every right to be buzzing about the way things are going right about now.
⚽️1 = Salah to Firmino
⚽️2 = Firmino to Salah
A beautiful combination. 💫 pic.twitter.com/rTVyYuvQrg
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 11, 2018
Mohamed Salah equals @premierleague record of most left-footed goals in a PL season, 19 of his 22 coming from his left foot - equals Robbie Fowler’s record set in 1994-95.
Top PL scorers this season
21 Aguero pic.twitter.com/4MbciscMoP
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 11, 2018
Mohamed Salah's game by numbers vs. Southampton:
23 (92%) passes completed
3 chances created
1 take-on completed
Another one. pic.twitter.com/EOyzE3YxCm
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 11, 2018
Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino's combined 34 league goals means they have scored more than Everton (32) this season
— Richard Buxton (@RichardBuxton_) February 11, 2018
This is only the third time in the last 16 seasons that #LFC possess two players on 20 goals or more in a campaign across all competitions.
Mohamed Salah has 28 and Roberto Firmino 20
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) February 11, 2018