Rivaldo Exclusive: Firmino can fire Liverpool to another title

  • Rivaldo
  • 5:00 min read
Firmino and Sadio Mane
Firmino headed Liverpool clear at the top

Betfair Ambassador Rivaldo talks Roberto Firmino's role in Liverpool's bid to retain the Premier League title, Arsenal's shocking form and the latest at Barcelona...

"We will see a close Premier League title race, with three or four teams in contention right until the end. It's Liverpool who are in pole position, though, and they will be tough to beat."

Just when some people were questioning his value for Liverpool Roberto Firmino scored a late winner against Tottenham to put the Reds clear at the top of Premier League table. The Brazilian forward proved once more his importance to the club.

Diogo Jota's arrival should be seen as a reinforcement to the Liverpool squad and not a threat to Firmino. All club's must strengthen their team with good additions like Jota. I'm sure that Firmino will keep scoring, contributing and helping Liverpool.

Liverpool have now gone three points ahead of Spurs and the Reds must be considered favourites to win it again. It's been a fantastic five years for Jurgen Klopp at Anfield, winning the Champions League and winning the club their first domestic league title for 30 years Premier League. Of course, they are strong contenders to make it two Premier Leagues in a row.

But this season could still produce a surprise. I think we will see a close title race, with three or four teams in contention right until the end. It's Liverpool who are in pole position, though, and they will be tough to beat.

Arsenal turmoil is baffling

It's shocking to see Arsenal in such trouble in the Premier League. The team ended last season strongly but things have got out of control in the last few weeks and their winless run in the Premier League is a cause for real concern.

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David Luiz is back now and he should make a difference for Arsenal. Willian too can make a big contribution to turning the Gunners' season around. They still have time to regroup and react this season to at least try to finish in the top six. They have enough quality in their squad to do it and I expect results to improve soon.

Messi needs to play up front

Lionel Messi was fantastic in midfield for Barcelona against Real Sociedad. He showed great creativity and the results was victory over the team that were leading La Liga.

But what Messi wants most is to be up front, scoring goals, so, I don't expect him to stay in midfield. On the other hand, if he played in midfield he wouldn't need to run so much. That could be beneficial for him as he gets older.

He is scoring fewer goals than usual this season and Ronald Koeman might have thought about a new role for Messi. He's show he can be effective in midfield but it's up front where he really wants to be.

Barcelona should take one game at a time

Barcelona gained some confidence with two home wins at La Liga this week. They can still battle for the La Liga title, as there are still many matches to play until the end and they are not so far away from the top of the table.

We must consider this squad a work in progress and it will be important to keep in mind that one match at a time philosophy to avoid putting too much pressure on the players.

Diego Simeone Atleti are the current La Liga leaders and he always takes one game at a time. Barca should do the same.

It's crucial to keep winning game after game as that will boost their confidence and team spirit.

Pedri has talent and personality to succeed at Barca

The young attacking midfielder Pedri started again against Real Sociedad and produced another solid performance. He is a very talented player who is showing personality on the pitch and might become an important part of the club soon.

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But it's important not to put too much pressure on his shoulders at an early age and give him space to keep developing. As a Barcelona player, you always must try a bit more in each match or you can lose your place in such a talented squad.

Coutinho has struggled in recent weeks. The Brazilian shined in Liverpool and won the Champions League last season with Bayern Munich, so we always expect a bit more from him. I believe he will start performing well again soon.

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