Jan Molby offers thoughts on Roberto Firmino and Liverpool's striking options after win over Manchester United

Anfield Kop

Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino both found the net in Liverpool's first leg win over Manchester United in their Europa League meeting.

Former Liverpool midfielder Jan Molby has said it is strange that all of Roberto Firmino's goals have come when Daniel Sturridge has been absent from the side.

Firmino scored the Reds second in the 2-0 win over Manchester United in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie at Anfield, after Sturridge had given the Reds a first half lead from the penalty spot.

Sturridge was withdrawn on the hour mark for Joe Allen, which allowed Firmino to play in a more advanced role usually occupied by the central striker - and managed to find the net to put Liverpool in a commanding position ahead of the second leg. 

Molby wrote in his Liverpool Echo column: "Roberto Firmino is getting among the goals again while Adam Lallana was effective.

"The second was a nice goal and Firmino just waited for Michael Carrick to open his legs.

"He's very technically gifted and that should hopefully put Liverpool out of reach.

"Klopp has got attacking options now. He's finding the right blend and perhaps it is telling that all of Firmino's goals have come when Daniel Sturridge has been off the pitch which gives him more freedom."

Firmino certainly seems to be getting a lot of his goals when he is playing on the shoulder of the defender, though he has been starting games recently in a deeper role where his job appears to be finding space and linking up play in the final third. 

But as Molby has pointed out, there are more options for Klopp. Sturridge carried a threat in the opening 60 minutes, while Divock Origi ran Michael Carrick ragged when he was introduced late on in the game as the Reds saw things out. 

Though the numbers suggest that Firmino - who became the leading scorer for the Reds this season as he found the net for the ninth time - flourishes without Sturridge, there was some evidence of the pair working in tandem in terms of movement and their link-up play for the hour they played together. 

Compared to the last time the two side's met, Liverpool having more striking options available ultimately proved to be the difference as they found some cutting edge in the final third, even if David De Gea's heroics in the United goal kept the scoreline respectable, and meant the tie isn't beyond all doubt just yet. 

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