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Jurgen Klopp rubbishes Firmino criticism after Norwich thriller

Klopp believes in Firmino. Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended Roberto Firmino after his brace against Norwich. This comes after Liverpool legend Michael Owen slated Firmino since his £29million move from Hoffenheim. But, after his starring role in Liverpool’s epic 5-4 victory, Klopp defended his frontman.

“There is a wide spectrum of types of strikers,” said Klopp. “Roberto is a very offensive player, so he is a striker.

“Everybody asked me, ‘What about Firmino, we need a real target striker?’ He got two against Arsenal and he scored two again. Firmino can play and score goals and he is for us a good option to play with. He is flexible and at the moment in brilliant shape. He gets in the box and then something happens.”

The 24-year-old was given the nod ahead of Christian Benteke, with Jordan Ibe starting in front of Adam Lallana, who came off the bench to score the winner five minutes into time added on. “Having the option with Christian is good,” added Klopp.

Firmino put Liverpool in front in a topsy-turvey game where both teams were defensively disgraceful. Dieumerci Mbokani, debutant Steven Naismith and Wes Hoolahan put Norwich 3-1 up before Stephen Henderson and Firmino leveled matters. A shocking back pass from Canaries skipper Russell Martin allowed James Milner to run on and score, and that should have been that. But more sluggish Liverpool defending from a free-kick allowed Sebastien Bassong to score from 25 yards, two minutes into added time. Lallana then popped up with the winner three minutes later with Klopp having his glasses smashed during the wild celebrations, which prompted angry Norwich coach Frankie McEvoy to confront the Liverpool manager in the tunnel.

As delighted as he was with the goals, Klopp warned his players to improve at set-plays after Norwich managed to score with four of their five shots on target.

“It’s really frustrating,” he said. “It’s not something I like to make jokes about, our defence. We know how it works. I was an under-average player, but if I was good at something it was defending set-plays. It’s not that difficult.”

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