sport news Liverpool vs Man City: Why Roberto Firmino can again be a thorn in the side for ...

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With Anfield poised and ready to host what is set to be the biggest game of the season so far, eyes are being cast upon those players who can make the difference when it matters the most.

Liverpool enter the showdown with a six-point lead over Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, drawing parallels with the last time the two sides met in the Premier League.

With a depleted back-line and a potential goalkeeping crisis on their hands, City appear to be in a vulnerable position. To take advantage, Jurgen Klopp will naturally look to his prolific front three. 

Sportsmail examines why Roberto Firmino could be the key component in making things happen...

Pep Guardiola has plenty to think about ahead of a visit to league rivals Liverpool on Sunday

Pep Guardiola has plenty to think about ahead of a visit to league rivals Liverpool on Sunday

After Amazon Prime produced a season's worth of footage following City and documenting their title triumph of 2018, one snippet of the material was well received on Merseyside.

A segment showed Guardiola pacing the dressing room inside Everton's Goodison Park stadium, expressing his concerns about Liverpool's front three... who his side would be facing in midweek.

'The forwards for Liverpool are good,' a visibly anxious Guardiola could be heard saying. 'They scare me, they're dangerous, I mean it.'

Rather than thinking about the Everton game immediately before him, Guardiola simply could not help but busy his mind with Klopp's Liverpool. 

He was right. Later that week, the Reds pulled off a mighty European win with Firmino a key architect. But how can the Brazilian return to haunt Guardiola again?

Chance creator

Critics of Firmino will tell you he's a centre forward who does not score enough goals. In black and white terms, he plays up front through the middle and sees his colleagues hit the back of the net on a more regular basis.

Those of a more curious football standing however will by now have noticed the 28-year-old is the prime reason the Liverpool front three work so well.

After Guardiola's nervy dressing room ramblings about the Liverpool attack, it was Firmino who took to the game which followed at ferocious pace, covering every blade of grass and crafting two key chances, of which the Reds eventually scored from. A sublime 3-0 win was recorded.

By altering his position throughout a match, Firmino is the instigator of chances for the Reds

By altering his position throughout a match, Firmino is the instigator of chances for the Reds

Firmino is the axis on which Liverpool's attacking trident spins, bringing others into play while taking opponents out of the game. 

His unrivalled approach to the game has seen Firmino heralded by some of the best, with Thierry Henry having previously labelled him 'most complete striker in the league.' High praise indeed.

Firmino has, however, not produced a direct assist vs City since the Champions League quarter-final of 2018. 

With a makeshift defence at present, Guardiola's men must ensure he does not rediscover this ability on Sunday.

Shape shifter

By alternating between a centre forward and a 'false nine', Firmino offers various

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