Liverpool have today announced their most exciting transfer of the summer, after Brazilian playmaker Roberto Firmino completed a £29m move to Anfield (via BBC Sport).
The 23-year-old has endeared himself to Reds fans already, having reportedly rejected the advances of Manchester United this summer, and deciding to join their bitter rivals (via talkSPORT).
However, once the Copa America comes to a conclusion, and the Brazilian links up with his new team, the hard work will begin, and the pressure will be on to make sure the early admiration for him does not subside once they get to see him in action.
But, what can Anfield expect from their first marquee signing of the summer?
Firmino has already proved that he is a very versatile player that can play anywhere from an advanced midfield role, all the way up to a sole striker. For Hoffenheim, he has been used predominantly in a slightly deeper position to make sure that he is able to stamp his authority on the game, as he is more than happy to track back, as well as make surging runs forward.
His awareness and positioning is a great strength. He is able to drop or move to create gaps in behind the defence, that allow either he or a teammate to exploit the space. He displayed that skill beautifully well during his country’s friendly with Chile at Arsenal’s Emirates in March. As you can see, he manages to get a yard on the defender by dropping deep as if to receive the ball to hold it up, before using the space to run in the channel and go through on goal.
The composure he shows to take the ball round the goalkeeper will also be a promising sight for Reds fans, who had to watch their attack throw away several wonderful chances last season.
That striker’s instinct he deploys so effectively has seen him used as an out and out forward by his national side, which has also provided him with the opportunity to link up with Liverpool’s magician Philippe Coutinho.
Against Venezuela in the Copa America, Firmino displayed two key attributes often showcased in a top front man. He anticipates that Willian will drill the ball across the six-yard box, and makes a purposeful run from deep. And then like a true poacher, he gleefully accepts the chance from a couple of yards, which, while it may seem simple, was something that Liverpool were crying out for last year.
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