Liverpool face a mammoth task in overcoming Real Madrid in the Champions League, having fallen to a chastening 5-2 defeat at Anfield in the first leg.

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Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have certainly fallen from prominence this season, currently fifth in the English top-flight and having fallen in the early phases of both the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup, with continental football the final realistic chance of silverware this season.

And even that may be too tall an order; Liverpool stormed into a 2-0 lead in the early stages of the first match against Los Blancos, but an inexplicable collapse left the away side putting five past the silenced Anfield faithful.

However, if Klopp's past endeavours against Spanish opposition in the Champions League are anything to go by, a sliver of hope may yet be intact.

Liverpool fell to a 3-0 defeat against Barcelona in the 2018/19 edition of the prestigious tournament, before incredibly sinking La Blaugrana with a four-goal romp in the reverse fixture on Merseyside.

However, the circumstances are starkly polarising to the former verve that Liverpool harnessed to forge a route towards Champions League glory, but one phenom that must be utilised to achieve the achievable is stalwart Roberto Firmino.

Will Firmino start against Real Madrid?

Since signing for Liverpool for £29m from Hoffenheim in 2015, the Brazilian Firmino has scored 108 goals and provided 79 assists 355 appearances, integral in winning the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup, among other major honours.

And this season, despite Liverpool’s struggles, the 31-year-old has plundered ten goals and five assists from just 16 appearances, providing a cutting edge to Liverpool’s attack amid the lack of fluidity.

Firmino’s stats over the past year

Hailed as a “leader” by journalist Henry Winter, the 55-cap attacker ranks incredibly among forwards competing across Europe’s major leagues over the past year, with both his direct threat and creative flair illustrated.

The £180k-per-week South American has recorded an average rating of 7.07 in the Champions League this season, as per Sofascore, scoring two goals and serving one assist from four starts, creating 1.4 key passes per match and completing an assured 81% of his passes.

Against Madrid, who will be buoyed by their advantage and the cacophonous Santiago Bernabeu crowd, Firmino’s composure and selfless offensive arsenal will only enhance the prospects of his team-mates around him.

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group A - Rangers v Liverpool - Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain - October 12, 2022 Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring their second goal Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

He should start in the stead of Cody Gakpo, who has scored four goals from 13 matches since his £35m winter transfer from PSV Eindhoven.

Gakpo has displayed plenty of promise, signing at a tumultuous time for the struggling outfit, but struggled against Madrid in the first leg, withdrawn after 64 minutes, making just 25 touches and failing to take a shot.

In a match of paramount importance, the deployment of Firmino simply must be enacted, with the likes of Darwin Núñez and Mohamed Salah only benefiting from his dynamic ubiquity.

Although unlikely, it's a change that could well ensure a huge upset in the Spanish capital.