The Merseyside club have been quick to put their disappointing 2014-2015 season behind them with a string of new signings announced before the summer window has even had the chance to officially open. The Reds will be able to count on the services of James Milner, Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan, Joe Gomez and Nathaniel Clyne next season, but none of those signings is as exciting--in both reality and fantasy terms--as Roberto Firmino.
It remains to be seen whether Liverpool will add another striker to their ranks to offset the absence of Daniel Sturridge to begin the season, but for all intents and purposes Firmino looks like he will be filling the position that will almost certainly be vacated by want-away youngster Raheem Sterling.
The 23 year-old Brazilian is capable of playing as an attacking midfielder or as part of the forward line, and while he doesn't excel at leading the line as a lone striker, he does have the capability to do so in a pinch. The best part is, with the additional three years of playing time versus Sterling, Firmino is a much more complete player right now. He has been a consistent performer in his five seasons with Hoffenheim, weighing in with goals and assists from midfield, most impressively in 2013-2014 when he scored 22 goals in 37 matches.
The playmaker is also exceptional with the ball at his feet, ranking behind only a couple guys named Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard in successful dribbles across Europe in each of the past two seasons. Add to that his high-energy pressing, strong defensive workrate and great vision, and Liverpool have a real talent on their hands of the same quality as the players they've so narrowly missed out on in recent seasons, including the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Diego Costa.
Firmino is currently playing for Brazil in the Copa America alongside future Liverpool teammate Philippe Coutinho, who is reported to have played a major role in convincing his compatriot to make the move to the Premier League. The two have garnered the praise of Brazilian legend Ronaldinho, who has spoken highly of the duo's potential to create chances.
And hey, if Liverpool somehow manage not to bring in another striker, maybe Danny Ings will be this season's Diego Costa to Firmino's Alexis Sanchez. Okay, let's not get too carried away on that last bit, but still, things are looking very promising for Brendan Rodgers' job security and the future success of our fantasy teams if Firmino continues on his current trajectory.
What are your thoughts about the signing? Can Firmino replicate the debut season of Sanchez & Costa, or will he struggle to adapt to the Premier League? Will you make room for him in your Week 1 team? Share your thoughts!