Brendan Rodgers: Liverpool signing can fill Raheem Sterling void
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Roberto Firmino will need time to adapt the demands of the Premier League
Brendan Rodgers has backed new boy Roberto Firmino to fill the £49m void of Raheem Sterling but has admitted it could take time for the Brazilian to show his best at Anfield.
Comparisons are already being drawn between Firmino and Sterling, who both netted seven goals in over 30 games last campaign. However, the South American leads the way in the assists column with 10 last season compared to Sterling’s seven.
Speaking at his pre-match media conference on their pre-season tour in Thailand on Monday, Rodgers was quick to back his £29m recruit.
Rodgers said: “He’s a top-class player. He’s obviously played in Europe, so he understands and played in a very good league.
“He’s got all the traits and the profile of what we would want as a player – he works very, very hard, he’s a talented player and someone we feel can score goals for the team. I’m really excited and looking forward to him coming in.”
However the Liverpool boss didn’t want to pile too much pressure on the former Hoffenheim man.
“Of course, there is no pressure. He’ll come into the Premier League and Lucas knows as well as anyone as a fellow Brazilian that coming in, it just takes that little bit of time to adapt.”
Capped on 10 occasions by his country, scoring four goals, Firmino has been a consistent performer over the last four seasons in the Bundesliga with 38 goals in 126 appearances.
Last season, he successfully took on opponents 56.9 per cent of the time, while Sterling enjoyed slightly less success with 49.5 per cent.
So the stats show that Rodgers’s faith in his new recruit is well founded; however, time will tell if he can replicate his Bundesliga performances in England.