Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has discussed Roberto Firmino‘s transformation from transfer flop to one of the signings of the Premier League season.
The manager says he understands why fans doubted the Brazilian early on, as not many in England had seen the 24-year-old play – but that he was both impressed and surprised when he heard Liverpool had clinched a deal.
We acquired Firmino from Hoffenheim last summer for a fee which could rise to £29m, but we can’t even put a figure on his value to the club now.
“It wasn’t a surprise to me when I heard people questioning him. That’s how it is in Germany too,” Klopp told the ECHO.
“You don’t watch too much German football. You get a player from Hoffenheim in Germany and everyone thought: ‘oh, a nice signing Liverpool’.
“But not many people here knew him because he wasn’t from Bayern, he wasn’t from Dortmund.
“I knew about Roberto. When I heard that Liverpool had signed him I thought: ‘how have they done this?’
“Now with Roberto you can see the confidence in his work. All the players are more confident than before because they’ve had more time working together.
“We’ve had an intense time but it’s been a good time together. We know a lot more about each other.
“Watford was the team’s 60th game of the season – that’s unbelievable. For me, it’s only been 49.
“What we can learn from Roberto’s situation going forward when it comes to next season’s signings is wait to make judgements. Don’t be too quick to judge players.”
Firmino is the perfect example of a talented player who simply needed some time to adapt and settle into a new league.
Now, the Brazilian is as good an attacking midfielder as anything in the country – proven by his ten goals and seven assists in the Premier League so far this term.
It’s easy to write off new signings, but foolish too. This season alone, Divock Origi has performed a similar transformation, with many criticising the young Belgian early on during the campaign.
The same could be said with Emre Can, Dejan Lovren and previously Jordan Henderson – proving it’s best to give new players a proper chance to prove themselves at Anfield rather than disposing of them too quickly.