Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino admits that he has endured a “difficult” season which has seen him drop below his best level.
The Brazil international has proved an integral player for the Reds ever since his 2015 arrival. In fact, manager Jurgen Klopp inherited the 29-year-old upon his appointment and has regularly hailed his input. However, aside from his 2017/18 haul of 27 goals, he has proved the most goal-shy star in Liverpool’s front three.
What’s more, Diogo Jota’s signing has cast further doubt among some pundits as to his longevity in the team.
Firmino has scored five goals and assisted six others in the Premier League this season. As such, he still sits below last season’s tally of 17 direct goal contributions.
But while a lack of form has affected almost all Liverpool players this season, Firmino is aware that he can be held partly responsible for the club’s slump.
“It’s been a difficult season for me,” the attacker told ESPN Brazil. “We have to be sincere, there’s no lack of hope for improvement.
“My desire is to evolve and grow every day. There’s no lack of motivation for me.
“I charge myself a lot, I know that I’m not at my best moment compared to the last few years. I always want to be helping with goals and assists, but that hasn’t been happening, unfortunately.
“But I don’t give up. I’m always looking to improve to help my team to be better, together with the group. I have to evolve day after day.”
Liverpool went from sitting top of the Premier League at Christmas to a low of eighth after a run of poor form.
Indeed, six defeats at Anfield after a 68-match unbeaten home run proved arguably their biggest menace.
However, the Reds won on home soil for the first time in 2021 on Saturday, beating Aston Villa 2-1.
They will have to make it two such victories on the spin if they are to progress past Real Madrid, who have a 3-1 advantage from the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.
Firmino added: “I know the reality, I know that this year we’re not doing well. But we can reverse it.
“We still have chances to qualify in the Champions League. We have a final against Real Madrid and everything is still open, we will fight until the end.”
Firmino opens up on ‘angry’ Klopp
Elsewhere, Firmino pointed to the emotions manager Klopp feels when Liverpool lose.
Indeed, Klopp was not used to losing before this season, helping the Reds to Champions League and Premier League glory.
“He gets sad, he gets angry,” Firmino said. “Nobody likes to lose, especially him. Our team got used to winning. But, in this difficult time, we have to analyse our negative points and turn them into positive ones. We have to look to always give our best to each game.
“We had an excellent game against Arsenal, we didn’t concede goals, we were solid in defence, we scored three goals and we won.
“Three days later, we lost a very important game for the Champions League. We know that we still have the second game, that there’s nothing won or lost yet. We can reverse the score and come out winners.
“But we know that, especially in the first half against Real Madrid, we were very bad. Fortunately, we managed to score a goal and we have a chance to reverse that.”