Liverpool should have bought this fantastic star rather than Balotelli

Rhein-Neckar-Arena exterior - 1899 Hoffenheim

Should Liverpool have broken the bank for Roberto Firmino?

At the end of last season, with the build-up to another summer transfer window in full-swing, Liverpool were strongly linked with a player who was enjoying a truly spectacular individual campaign.

Hoffenheim’s attacking midfielder Roberto Firmino ended last season with 22 goals and 16 assists in 37 appearances, but while the rumours of a move to Anfield persisted, the Brazilian finally ended speculation about his future by agreeing a new deal until the summer of 2017.

That said, a few rumours still sprang up, suggesting that if Liverpool made a big enough bid they could still tempt the German club into business. But instead the Reds signed the likes of Lazar Markovic for £20million and Mario Balotelli for £16million.

But while both players have struggled to adapt to life at the Reds so far, Firmino is seemingly rediscovering his groove in the Bundesliga.

Two assists on Saturday ensured Hoffenheim defeated FC Schalke 2-1, making it one goal and three assists for Firmino so far this season, and suggesting yet again that Liverpool may have been wise to at least tempt his current club’s hand in the summer.

After all, Rodgers paid a total of £36million for two players – at opposite ends of their footballing careers – who have not yet suggested they will be a success at Anfield.

Markovic could – and should – develop over time, but had Liverpool wanted a player for the here-and-now, a man to immediately replace much of the creativity and goal-threat lost by the departure of Luis Suarez, Firmino would have been a great option.

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