Player Profiles – Roberto Firmino

   Brought in to cover the goal scoring hole that Suarez and Gerrard left in the summer of 2015, Roberto Firmino Barbosa de Oliveira has not so much redefined the Forward position as hybridized a new style to fit his talent.  His off the ball work rate and overall contribution over 90 mins of play is adored by football enthusiasts all over the globe.  It is perhaps this very attribute that allowed him to fly under the radar and make his way to Liverpool during a rebuilding period for the club.  Like many of the players in the Premier League, he worked very hard to overcome the hand he was dealt and make it in the world of footballing.  His road has taken him from the worst state in Brazil, the the Champions League Winners Podium in Madrid.  

     At the young age of 19, Bobby, as he is affectionately known, left the comforts of his home country and into the rough and tumble of the German Bundesliga, signing for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in mid-season 2011.  He made his debut in late February of the same year and finished his inaugural season with three goals in eleven matches.  It was the 2013/14 season that announced Firmino to the world (and the likes of Klopp, then at Dortmund, who thought highly of the player, regarding him as one of the best in the league).  He scored 22 goals for the club and netted the winner in his Brazilian debut against Austria.  It earned him a place in the 2015 Copa America tournament and allowed Liverpudlians to see him play for the first time. 

     Fellow Countryman, Ronaldinho, may have been the first to express the steal that Liverpool just pulled off, but he will not be the last.  Since joining the Reds he has been the main man, and most likely the first name on the team sheet in most weeks.  To date, Firmino has made 235 appearances and has scored 77 goals and has elevated his counterparts to creating the most deadly attacking line-up in world football.  He supplies so much on and off the ball that his true value is often only seen when he’s not in the starting XI.  Sadly, it is the same attribute that keeps him out of a lot of pub discussions as one of the best attacking players in the history of the Premier League.  Ask any Red though, and they will sing you the praises of their favorite Brazilian, with a smile as wide, but not nearly as bright, as that of whom they describe.  The man oozes swagger and has the confidence to take the piss out of any defense.  His finishes usually puts the cherry on top of a beautiful movement and brings the exclamation point to the stamp Liverpool have been smashing over the game in recent years.  He will forever fan favorite for it, after-all, we are Liverpool, this means more!  There’s also more to learn about Roberto by following the link below.