When Liverpool signed Roberto Firmino for a fee which could rise to £29m last summer, many fans were excited but some were skeptical – as the Brazilian was hardly a household name.
He’s impressed at Hoffenheim, but wasn’t a regular international and hadn’t participated in the Champions League.
These worries were confounded by the 24-year-old’s start to life in England. Immediately, he flattered to deceive – which fans noting a lack of pace and lack of any identity on the pitch. “Where does he even play?” cried the terraces.
But since Jurgen Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers, Firmino has come into his own.
In fact, he’s been nothing short of sensational. We’ve calculated (via WhoScored), that under Klopp, Firmino has averaged a goal or an assist every 97 minutes in all competitions.
Playing a new league, with a new club, without the language, Firmino makes a game changing contribution practically every game – while being asked to fulfil defensive duties as well.
All this while primarily being used as a deep no.10. Firmino isn’t travelling to the USA this summer for the Copa America, so will have a full pre-season at Melwood. Next term, settled, familiar and still under Klopp’s guidance, Firmino could improve even further.
Watch this space!