Former Liverpool star Ryan Babel has praised the Reds’ signing of Brazilian international forward Roberto Firmino, telling our official website that the youngster’s wonderful technical qualities are sure to make him a big hit at Anfield.
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Babel and Firmino know each other well. They arrived at Hoffenheim during the exact same transfer window – that of January 2011 – with Babel joining from Liverpool and Firmino from Brazilian club Figueirense.
The duo both impressed, scoring 16 goals between them during their first 18 months with the German side, after which Babel left to join former club Ajax – continuing the unfortunate downward trend his career has taken.
Babel, 28, scored 22 goals in 146 appearances during his time on Merseyside but has recently joined Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates. The Dutchman looks back fondly on his time with Firmino and believes that the 23-year-old is destined for greatness.
Speaking about their time together he said: “He was only a young lad when I joined Hoffenheim and they’d recently brought him in from Brazil. He didn’t play a lot in my first half-year there, he only trained with us as he had to learn the German culture and the intensity of training there.
“But he was very humble and you could tell he was very talented. In the following season, he was training well and the manager tried him out. He did well and began playing. I’ve been following Hoffenheim and I’ve seen how well he’s developed and he’s got called up for the Brazilian national team. I’m very proud of him.”
So what can we expect to see from our second most expensive signing of all time? According to Babel, the possibilities are virtually limitless as our new signing prepares for life in English football.
“He is a tricky player. He can dribble, shoot, he has a great shot, he can play a lot of through balls and his assists are very good,” Babel added of his former teammate.
“He’s the kind of player that likes the ball at his feet and to do nice things with it, but something he learned in Germany was how to work without the ball and defend.I know how important that is in England, what you do without the ball. It was something he had to learn in Germany.
“I’m very happy for him. He’s very talented and now it is down to him. He is the kind of player that can give a lot of joy to Liverpool fans because he’s a very skilful player.”