Liverpool fans should get used to their club being linked with a whole host of players both now and this summer.
With Champions League football almost certainly returning to Anfield, and with the very real possibility of the club ending this campaign as champions, Liverpool will be seen as a very attractive option for some of the world’s top players, while Brendan Rodgers will know he needs to strengthen to maintain the progress of this season.
Most recently, Benfica striker Rodrigo Moreno has been tipped for a summer move to the Reds, and it appears a new striker and a new left-winger are Rodgers’ priorities, with a new left-back suddenly far less urgent given the emergence of the outstanding Jon Flanagan and his ability to play on either flank.
But there is one player above all others that Rodgers should move for – a player who is neither a striker nor a winger per se, but one who fits the bill perfectly…and he is already said to be on Liverpool’s radar.
Roberto Firmino is having a storming season for Hoffenheim, scoring 19 goals and providing 13 assists to date.
Predominantly an attacking midfielder, the Brazilian can also operate on either wing if necessary, something that bodes well given the interplay of the Reds’ current forward-line.
At just 22, Firmino also fits the criteria Rodgers appears to have laid out when considering new recruits. He is a young player with plenty of time to improve, and yet one who already has considerable experience in the Bundesliga. He would also be an excellent foil for either Luis Suarez or Daniel Sturridge if and when Rodgers opts to rest either player next season.
Firmino will not come cheap, and he may not come at all, after his manager Markus Gisdol said he wanted to keep him exactly where he was. But with reports of a £12million price-tag, Liverpool should make a move and see what happens.
Even if that amount seems rather on the cheap side considering his age and ability, they could offer closer to £20million and still be getting a good deal for a player who is more prolific than many strikers currently operating in Europe, with the added bonus that he sets up plenty for those around him, too.