Dietmar Hamann has hailed the talents of Roberto Firmino and believes the Brazil international has a big future at Liverpool.
Firmino moved to Anfield in June for £29 million from German side Hoffenheim and scored his first goal for his new side in the Reds’ 4-1 thrashing of Manchester City.
The 24-year-old struggled to maintain a regular spot in Liverpool’s starting XI whilst Brendan Rodgers was in charge, but has been handed plenty of faith since Jurgen Klopp took the reins in L4.
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He’s displayed his versatility having been utilised as an attacking midfielder, as well as a false number nine in victories on the road against the Citizens and Chelsea.
And Hamann, who watched Firmino play in the Bundesliga on countless occasions, feels the Merseyside outfit have a top class player at the club.
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"He’s a very talented player," the German told Liverpoolfc.com.
"I spoke to people who worked with him - Markus Babbel was his manager in Hoffenheim - and I saw an awful lot.
"He’s very direct, he’s a little bit different to Coutinho, that’s why he can also play that role as a false nine or a centre-forward.
"Sometimes when Brazilians or South Americans come to the Premier League [people] ask if they can cope with the physical demands but I think he’s more German or European than South American, mentally.
"He never shirked a challenge in Germany, he was always one of the first ones to go where it hurts, and I think he’s shown that in his few games for the club.
"He’s got tremendous ability and, coupled with the mental strength he’s got, I think he could be a great asset for the club for a long time to come."
When Firmino first joined Liverpool, there were plenty of raised eyebrows given the sheer amount that he cost.
Many Kopites feared the Reds had once again overpaid for a player who would not suit the demands of the Premier League. Having witnessed Lazar Markovic flop just one season prior, the general consensus was that Liverpool had wasted further millions.
In credit to Firmino, he never got the chance he deserved under Rodgers. He suffered from a lack of minutes on the pitch and when he did play, it was usually out of position on the wing.
When Klopp was announced Liverpool’s new manager, there would have been nobody in the Anfield dressing room as pleased as Firmino. The pair knew each other well having competed against one another in the Bundesliga and Klopp reportedly flirted with the idea of signing him last summer whilst in charge of Borussia Dortmund.
Firmino has been handed a new lease of life and he was top class against City. He was his team’s first defender, pressing the Citizens’ rearguard from the kick-off and his hard work led to him snatching the ball off Martin Demichelis and setting up Philippe Coutinho for Liverpool’s second.
The Marceio-born attacker is likely flooded with confidence and enjoying his football again. Confidence is a marvellous thing in football and is vital to succeed, and he is playing with plenty of it.
He’s built an excellent rapport with compatriot Coutinho. The pair combined for Liverpool’s first three goals at the Etihad and were very much aware of one another's movement into space.
Both were not picked for Brazil’s latest squad earlier this month and remained on Merseyside for the international break. They likely worked very closely with Klopp at Melwood to master their partnership and it has the potential to blossom into something much more deadly.
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