Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp 'completely happy' with Roberto Firmino despite slow start
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has backed Roberto Firmino to break his early-season scoring duck and played down any suggestions World Cup fatigue is to blame for the Brazil international's slow start.
Firmino enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2017-18, scoring a career-best 27 goals in all competitions while helping the Reds to the Champions League final.
The former Hoffenheim forward has yet to find the net despite Klopp's side scoring six times over their first two matches this term, but the German manager insisted he's pleased with Firmino's performances thus far.
"He's fit and I think he's had a very good start," Klopp said on Friday, ahead of Liverpool's match with Brighton this weekend.
"He had two weeks preseason which is quite a short one for a player who needs his physical fitness as much as Roberto does but I'm completely happy.
"After two weeks preparation and a Brazilian holiday he is much sharper and fitter than I would have expected. He came back in really good shape to be honest.
"He's involved in all of our offensive situations, even with opening the gap with a run or playing the pass or whatever. First defender, all that stuff.
"It is all fine. It is exactly how it should be in this moment and he can improve like we can all improve."
Firmino, who often comes back from his No. 9 role to play in between the lines, is known for his unselfishness, which is unlike many traditional centre-forwards.
The 26-year-old has provided an assist this season and Klopp reiterated his belief that the goals are on the way.
"If anybody asked me how often Roberto had scored in the first two games it feels to me like four times but it was obviously not a lot so far," Klopp said.
"His desire to score is as big as the other two [Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah]. He doesn't think too much about it. If he's in a better position to shoot then he will shoot and if someone else is in a better position he will pass.
"He's experienced enough to know he did not have the longest preseason. It was quite difficult playing these games pretty early.
"We had to have a look in training so it was clear that for these guys preseason was still going on. Not highest intensity, but they do a bit more than the others.
"It's absolutely all okay. If people talk about him because he's a No. 9, it's not important for him and it's not important for me. He's involved in all the situations up front. He will score goals 100 percent."