What was wrong with Liverpool's Roberto Firmino at St. James’ Park?

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino was ineffective on Sunday.

Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino put in one of his most disappointing performances of the season as he proved ineffective during his side’s 2-0 defeat at Newcastle United.

The Brazil international joined the Reds from Hoffenheim in the summer, a deal which was widely praised by supporters at Anfield as Firmino arrived boasting a decent record in Germany.

His start to life on Merseyside has been quite a challenge, yet the appointment of Jurgen Klopp sparked an improvement and Firmino was absolutely superb in the club’s recent 4-1 win at Manchester City.

However, unfortunately for Liverpool the same couldn’t be said of the player against Newcastle on Sunday.

  ShotsKey PassesTake-onsTouchesAccurate PassesTacklesDispossessedMins Played
Roberto Firmino 1 1 0 49 29 0 2 62

As seen by the table provided by Opta Stats, Firmino contributed very little over a number of key attacking areas and it came as no surprise to see him withdrawn after 62 minutes.

Playing as a central attacking midfielder, the 24-year-old managed just one shot and one chance created via a key pass, while failing to record any successful take-ons or tackles of note.

With 49 touches of the ball, Firmino only managed to link-up with a teammate on 29 occasions and he was dispossessed twice as he seemingly struggled against Newcastle’s compact defence.

The Magpies purposely sat back and allowed Liverpool to come onto them, a tactic which worked well as they managed to counter with pace and hurt the visitors behind their fullbacks.

Newcastle’s deep defensively seemingly starved Firmino of space between the lines, while his threat of going in behind the defence was nullified as there was no space to run into.

Steve McClaren deserves huge credit for his side’s victory, while Klopp and his key attacking players such as Firmino need to go back to the drawing board and work on adapting to such opposition tactics.

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