Liverpool have a very exciting year set out before them with new players, new attitudes, and a high chance of succeeding in Europe. Roberto Firmino is one of many new additions to the Liverpool squad that has excited fans to watch the link-ups between him and his Brazilian compatriot Philippe Coutinho.
His first introduction to the Premier League only lasted ten minutes as a substitute since Brendan Rodgers used a more conservative and experienced team at Stoke. It wasn’t until the second half that the Brazilian made his cameo appearance for Liverpool, which is a strong indication of his lack of match fitness in comparison to those who started before him.
Coming out of the Copa America has drained his energy, and watching his final contributions for Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Stoke City could cause some fans to be skeptical of his ability transition to the Premier League. However, a few quick touches on the ball shook off his nerves, and that Coutinho, his fellow countryman, scored the game winning goal while he was on the pitch bodes well.
One short shift is not enough to judge how his entire season will go. With his full match fitness yet to come, a Brazilian partnership in the attacking half of the field could be Liverpool’s answer to replacing Suarez. However, the Premier League has been known to be a prison for promising young talent from around Europe that fails to adapt and consistenyl perform. Will Firmino be next in line to rot on the bench?
In the competitive environment of the Premier League, Firmino will need to step-up fast and make his presence known. He is on his way to winning over Liverpool hearts after scoring a hat-trick in a behind-closed-doors friendly match against TNS. The match was intended to give Liverpool players who lacked match fitness more time on the ball against unfamiliar opponents. Firmino bagged three of Liverpool’s five goals in the game, hopefully bringing a new confidence in his play to Brendan Rodgers.
Since his arrival to Anfield, Rodgers has two impressions of Firmino that are on the complete opposite sides of the spectrum: an achy ten minute performance against Stoke City followed by a domination of South Wales club TNS. Only time will tell if Roberto Firmino can mold into the English Premier League and channel his skill he displayed in the latter competition week-in and week-out.