Heard the one about the injury that made a player better?
Prepare, then, for the tale of Roberto Firmino’s recent revival.
The Brazilian capped an impressive performance against Southampton on Friday night with a clever assist for Jordan Henderson’s game-clinching third.
It was enough to prompt Firmino having a moment’s reflection with an individual celebration that showed pride at a job well done.
However, it wasn’t just with this obvious contribution that the forward shone at St Mary’s.
Take Mohamed Salah’s wonder strike to give Liverpool the lead late on and send them back towards the Premier League summit.
Yes, Salah does all the hard work. But his job was made significantly easier by Firmino offering himself for a pass that did enough to put sufficient doubt in the minds of the retreating Southampton players as to Salah’s ultimate intention.
Super goal from Mo, super run, Bobby is so important to make the run – he (almost) didn’t play because the ankle was not good – fantastic finish,” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
“Then Bobby again chasing pretty much the whole world and makes a one-v-one situation, super pass, 3-1.”
That comment on Firmino’s fitness passed unnoticed on the evening. But it was a reminder of a rare absence for the Brazilian.
An absence that, in a curious manner, has kickstarted him on to greater heights.
It’s not that Firmino hadn’t already done his bit for the Reds. But since returning from the ankle injury that forced him off at Old Trafford in late February and sidelined him for the subsequent home game against Watford, his influence has increased.
Firmino is making a difference once again – at the time it matters most.
In four top-flight starts since his return, the Brazilian has scored twice against Fulham, created the opener for Sadio Mane at Fulham, nodded the first at home to Tottenham Hotspur and played his part against Southampton.
Four games, three goals, two assists. And all, given the inference from Klopp, while coping with the ongoing effects of that earlier ankle problem.
His absence against Watford ended a run of 71 consecutive appearances for Firmino, underlining both his durability and the great stock placed in him by Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool have only failed to score in three Premier League games this season. One of them, at Old Trafford, saw Firmino go off early, while in another at Goodison a week later he was fit enough only for a late cameo.
The problems in finding an understudy who can provide his unique qualities have been well documented. Yes, Mane slotted into the central role by scoring twice in the 5-0 romp over Watford, but the Senegalese international’s outstanding campaign has been forged almost exclusively on the left flank.
There’s nobody quite like Firmino. His pressing and work rate shone at Southampton, particularly during the first half when Liverpool were looking for a way back into the game.
No Liverpool player had more shots, more efforts on target and completed more key passes than the Brazilian. It was the same against Tottenham the previous week.
All told, Firmino has 19 goal involvements in the Premier League this season, only three fewer than his total for last term.
Mane and Salah will inevitably claim the greater share of headlines.
But if Liverpool are to clinch the title, the Brazilian will be just as integral. Si, Senor.