Liverpool won the race to sign heavily-coveted Hoffenheim forward Roberto Firmino for £29M this summer, with the Brazilian international opting for Merseyside over Manchester United. He’s the Reds fifth signing of the summer – Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan, Joe Gomez and James Milner – and is the club’s second-most expensive signing.
Firmino isn’t too well-known outside of the German Bundesliga, but he boasts an impressive record with a struggling Hoffenheim side that could hold him in good stead with a strong side like Liverpool. The Merseysiders have been desperate to bolster their attack, with Daniel Sturridge’s injury problems, and Raheem Sterling’s potential move to Manchester City likely to see Liverpool short for goals again.
As a result, manager Brendan Rodgers has laid his cards on the table, making the 23-year-old the club’s marquee arrival. Despite having been so active early in the summer transfer window, Firmino could be the biggest deal the club make ahead of the new season. While expensive, the young forward is talented, and has a good eye for a goal. He will link up with fellow Brazilians Lucas Leiva and Philippe Coutinho, so he should settle in fast.
Scoring and assisting 17 goals in 33 games in a mid-table Bundesliga side. He created 68 chances, and made 139 successful dribbles for the German outfit too. Firmino certainly has the quality to make a difference, and could be a wise investment should Sterling exit Anfield this summer.
Supporters have been crying out for Rodgers to fix their defensive problems, with the Reds having conceded 98 goals in the last two Premier League seasons. However, a lack of goals was also an issue that needed sorting from 2014/15, with Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini scoring only a handful of goals between them in Sturridge’s absence.
Liverpool couldn’t cope without Luis Suarez and Sturridge missing from their attack, evident from just seven goals by makeshift centre-forward Sterling. Departing captain Steven Gerrard was the side’s top scorer in the English top-flight, but still didn’t hit double figures for league goals last season.
Firmino’s rise to prominence sees him shining in this summer’s Copa America, and Liverpool will be hoping he enjoys as prolific debut campaign at Anfield to save Rodgers’ job, and help the side push for a top-four finish. The Reds perhaps paid over the odds for the forward, given the European talent available for a similar asking price, but Firmino could be the difference next season in an already highly-creative midfield.