The impact made by Diogo Jota at Liverpool has forced Roberto Firmino to raise his game, says Dominic Matteo, with the Brazilian forward in the process of proving that he remains a game-changer.
Said qualities were rarely questioned as the South American forged the most productive of partnerships with fellow frontmen Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
End product has, however, been in short supply for the 29-year-old of late, with just three goals recorded through 20 appearances in the 2020-21 campaign.
With Jota now on the treatment table, Firmino has the chance to prove that he remains the go-to man for Jurgen Klopp, with Matteo expecting a reliable performer to step up to that challenge.
The former Reds defender told Stadium Astro:
“Jota has been outstanding – every time he gets on the ball you think he’s going to score a goal. Definitely that might push Firmino forward.
“When you are up against a player who will score goals and make chances, you have to do something to influence the game. Firmino has done that now and hopefully he will get the confidence out of that.
“He had looked a big leggy in the last few games but maybe now after that goal [against Spurs] it will refresh him.
“His keeping of the ball needs to be a bit better, he was so good at that last season. This season he hasn’t kept it as well but people learn a lot about you as a player. Firmino has still got that ability to change a game. I’m sure he will get confidence out of that.”