Liverpool director Michael Edwards could soon be forced to reflect on what might have been over the summer after Roberto Firmino was ruled out of action for the foreseeable future with a serious hamstring injury. The Brazilian maestro picked up the problem during Wednesday’s victory over Atletico Madrid and will be unavailable for selection as he recovers.
Firmino was introduced from the bench at half-time to replace Sadio Mane, who was on a yellow card, under the lights at Anfield.
However, he lasted just 18 minutes against the Spanish champions before limping down the tunnel with an obvious issue.
Jurgen Klopp went on to reveal that Firmino will be sidelined for an indefinite period as he seeks a return to full fitness ahead of the business end of the season.
“Bobby is not good news with a serious hamstring injury, really unfortunate,” the Liverpool manager told reporters on Friday.
“We don’t know exactly how long he will be out but it will be not now after the international break directly. We have to work on that.”
Firmino’s injury will come as an unfortunate blow to the 30-year-old, who has enjoyed a strong start to the new season with six goals in all competitions.
He has played a pivotal role for Liverpool in recent years and was instrumental in shaping the club’s recent domestic and European triumphs.
The Reds ace is famed for his ability to hold the ball up and support attacking moves, allowing the likes of Mane and Mohamed Salah to play off him as part of a formidable attacking trio.
His absence over the next few weeks could see Liverpool struggle to replicate their usually prolific nature that has already seen them rack up 29 league goals this season.
It seems as though Diogo Jota will come in to replace Firmino in attack, but a better option may have been to land an elite-level forward during the summer window.
Liverpool were linked with a number of exciting options throughout pre-season, including the likes of Fiorentina marksman Dusan Vlahovic and Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa.
However, the Reds chose to divert the majority of their resources into extending the contracts of key players, leaving them without another top-class striker to provide cover for Firmino in the event of an injury.
Jota is by no means a poor option and is more than capable of providing goals for Liverpool, having done so on plenty of occasions during his time at Anfield.
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However, he is no match for a player like Vlahovic, who has already scored eight times in Serie A this season and is one of Europe’s most wanted strikers.
Meanwhile, the signing of Watkins would have provided Liverpool with another brilliant hold-up player with the ability to link up with his team-mates to great effect.
It remains to be seen whether Klopp’s side will struggle without Firmino, who is unlikely to make his return to action until after the upcoming international break at least.
With the Reds flying high in the Premier League as they eye a second title in three years, it will be crucial to maintain their positive momentum ahead of and into the festive period.
However, if they buckle in the absence of Firmino, Edwards could well be left with egg on his face after the club’s insistence on snubbing a new striker over the summer.