Forced to leave the action early in Liverpool's 0-0 with Manchester United on Sunday, Daniel Harris believes any long-term absence of Roberto Firmino could prove crucial to Liverpool's challenge for the Premier League.
"Roberto Firmino is very important to the pattern to which they play with his ability to hold the ball up and his ability to bring others into play," Harris stated on Monday's OTB AM.
With the potential absence of a ball-winning play-maker up front, Harris suggested that Liverpool won’t be able to get Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah onto the ball in a way that they traditionally tend to operate when the Brazilian plays.
"Without Firmino they are going to have a problem," Harris stated, "they’re going to have to find a different way of playing."
"They have a lack of imagination, creativity and width in midfield so what they do is they get the ball into Firmino and play off him and get men forward.
"If you don’t have a centre forward who can hold onto the ball, then that creativity in midfield that’s missing is going to be even more significant."
Posing a possible solution to the problem facing Jurgen Klopp, Harris suggested the Premier League leaders would need to find an alternative method of supplying their remaining forwards.
"Perhaps they’ll bring Daniel Sturridge in if Roberto Firmino is injured," Harris speculated, "but they might then need to bring Xherdan Shaqiri into midfield as well for what’s lacking, to give them more width and imagination."
"It would be dangerous to change the whole method of play [against Watford]," Harris noted with Liverpool's next fixture in mind.
"Against a team that really know what they’re about but things aren’t working well for them at the moment,”
Written by John Morley