Birthdate: 2 October 1991
Birthplace: Maceió, Brazil
Other clubs: Figueirense (2009-10), Hoffenheim (2011-2015)
Bought from: Hoffenheim
Signed for LFC: £29m, 06.07.2015
International debut: 12.11.2014 vs Turkey
International caps: 13/5 (8/3 at LFC) - 10.11.2015
Liverpool debut: 09.08.2015
Last appearance: 15.01.2017
Debut goal: 21.11.2015
Last goal: 27.12.2016
Contract expiry: 2020
Win ratio: 52.05% W:38 D:20 L:15
Games/goals ratio: 4.06
LFC league games/goals: 51 / 16
Total LFC games/goals: 73 / 18
Player profileLiverpool scored 49 fewer league goals in 2014/15 than in the previous season. Although a single player scored 30% of the 2013/14 total the number of players around the world who can score at that rate is very small indeed. But with Suarez gone and Daniel Sturridge so injury-prone it was clear that Liverpool needed to add more firepower to its squad given that only 74 goals were scored in all competitions in 2014/15 and that the top scorer (Gerrard) had also departed and the next-highest scorer (Sterling) seemed to be on the brink of leaving the club as the summer transfer-window officially opened. Liverpool’s solution was to send CEO Ian Ayre across the Atlantic Ocean to secure the signature of Brazilian attacking midfielder Roberto Firmino before any other club appeared on the scene to hijack the deal. That only one player had cost a higher fee in the club’s history showed how serious it was about getting its man.
Firmino was born in the capital city of Brazil’s eastern state of Alagoas. He played junior football for a club in that city, Clube de Regatas Brasil, before moving south in his late-teens to represent Figueirense Futebol Clube. Despite its remote location and the difficulty that comes with it of attracting new players this club has achieved decent enough finishes in its recent history in the country’s top division despite never seriously threatening the regular success of the big city clubs. Firmino made his debut for Figueirense towards the end of 2009 as the club tried to make an immediate return to Serie A following relegation in 2008. A year later Roberto’s eight goals from thirty-six appearances helped to secure promotion and he actually played in over fifty first-team matches during that calendar year.
Shortly after his 19th birthday Firmino took the route to Europe that so many of his countrymen had made before him by signing for German club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. His original contract ran until the end of June 2015 but this was later extended by a further two years and this extension was crucial in determining the massive fee that Liverpool would have to pay to secure his services. He arrived in Germany at the mid-point of a domestic season and therefore did not make his Bundesliga debut until a home fixture against Mainz towards the end of February 2011. By the end of the season he had scored three times in eleven league matches as Hoffenheim finished in eleventh place, a finishing position they repeated in 2012 before narrowing escaping relegation in 2013. Firmino scored twice and made the other goal in his team’s crucial 3-1 home leg victory over Kaiserslautern in the relegation play-offs.
2013/14 was a huge season for both the player and his club. The club improved its finishing position by seven places and the player, by now a regular starter in the team, only missed one league match and scored sixteen goals with a further six coming from four matches in the German Cup, including a hat-trick in the first round against Aumund-Vegesack. This was form which inevitably brought him to the attention of his country’s selectors and iconic former player Dunga, a World Cup winner in 1994, called him up for friendly matches against Turkey and Austria late in 2014; and he scored the winning goal in Brazil’s 2-1 victory over Austria in Vienna. He also scored the winning goal when Brazil faced Chile at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium at the end of March 2015 and was unsurprisingly a member of Brazil’s 2015 Copa América squad, where his goal against Venezuela in Santiago ensured that his country topped its group and progressed safely to the quarter-finals.
Former players and respected journalists alike have been queuing up to lavish praise on Liverpool’s new recruit. Legendary player Ronaldinho, with nearly a century of senior appearances for Brazil behind him, expressed the opinion that "For Liverpool to have Coutinho and Firmino is a big achievement for them. It is going to give them one of the most exciting midfields in Europe. The creativity, intelligence and goals they have between them can change Liverpool as a team. It is a big sign of intent. It is a dream for the Liverpool strikers to have that sort of service. They will create so many chances." This surely is the crux of Liverpool’s purchase. The number of goals both created and scored needs to rise if the club is to become serious challengers for the major prizes again. Nearly fifty goals and almost as many assists in the tough, competitive world of German football make the anticipation of Roberto Firmino doing well at his second European club very exciting indeed.
Firmino started slowly at Liverpool, struggling to live up to the price tag but after Jurgen Klopp arrived as manager his performances improved and according to various stats sources he was the most effective Premiership player in the second half of the season in respect of goal involvement (scored and assists combined). He scored a respectable ten goals in 31 league appearances but perhaps his most important goal was the second at home to Manchester United in the Europa League. At the end of the season it was a surprise that he was not called up to the Brazil squad for the Copa America.
Appearances per season
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
|3||West Ham United|
Goals per season
A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring
|1||09.08.2015||Stoke City||Britannia St.||League|
|1||32||21.11.2015||Manchester City||Etihad Stadium||League|
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