Gary Neville says one Arsenal maestro reminds him of ex-Liverpool icon

Gary Neville has named one Arsenal player who reminds him of a former Liverpool favourite.

Speaking on Sky Sports as part of their coverage of the Gunners’ win over Manchester United on Sunday, the 49-year-old drew comparisons between Kai Havertz and Bobby Firmino in terms of being a hugely effective link-up operator between midfield and attack.

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The ex-Red Devils right-back stated (via Daily Mail): “Havertz is doing a similar thing to what Firmino did at Liverpool. He drops in, he links the play, he provides a goal threat, but he’s subservient to the team. He’ll do whatever the team needs during a game.

“Remember for large parts of this season there were large question marks over Havertz, but he’s become a really important figure.

“I used to think that Firmino was a wonderful player for Liverpool. [Sadio] Mane and [Mo] Salah used to get all the main plaudits and the credit, but I always used to mention Firmino because of the way he played, connecting midfield with the attack. Havertz is doing something similar.”

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There are indeed some similarities between the role that Havertz plays at Arsenal and how Firmino so brilliantly slotted into the iconic Liverpool front three of him, Salah and Mane.

Although both were frequently listed at centre-forward on their respective team sheets, they tend to operate as a ‘false 9’, frequently dropping back to link up the play between the thirds rather than merely dwelling in the penalty area waiting to provide the finishing touch.

Despite that, both players have also proven well able to find the net frequently. The German has struck 13 times for the Gunners this season on top of the 32 goals he netted for Chelsea, while the Brazilian left Anfield last summer with 111 goals across his eight years with the Reds.

Firmino’s guile and ingenuity, along with his charismatic demeanour, ensured that he’ll remain an idol of the Kop for a long time to come. If Havertz can depart Arsenal with a similar level of adoration from the club’s fan base, he’ll have done plenty right at the Emirates Stadium.

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