Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers discusses Raheem Sterling’s ‘replacement’
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Roberto Firmino isn't a direct replacement for Raheem Sterling
Brendan Rodgers has reiterated that Liverpool signing Roberto Firmino isn’t a direct replacement for Raheem Sterling.
The England international completed his hotly-tipped £45m move to Manchester City from Liverpool on Monday.
Liverpool have already signed six players in the summer transfer window, including Firmino in a £29m deal from Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim.
While Rodgers refused to accept that Firmino was signed to fill Sterling’s void, the Liverpool boss is confident the Brazil international can slot seamlessly into his side.
“It’s not so much [about] a direct replacement for Raheem, it’s just about improving the squad,” Rodgers told his media conference.
“We’ve brought in a number of really good players and you add that to what we’ve already got and the balance in the team looks strong. There’s not a need, I didn’t feel, for a direct replacement for Raheem.”
Rodgers added on Firmino: “The flexibility of the player is important. He’s an outstanding talent. He’s got a wonderful touch and appreciation for the game, but the key when you watch him is the determination, how hard he works. So he can play on either one of the sides, he can play through the middle, or he can play in behind.
“He’s accustomed to European football so that should make the transition a little bit easier for him. But he’s a talented player who wants to score a goal.”
Liverpool finished in sixth place in the Premier League table after a disappointing 2013/14 campaign following the departure of Luis Suarez.
Sterling scored seven goals and made seven assists in 35 Premier League games last season.
Firmino, meanwhile, scored seven times and made 10 goals for his Hoffenheim team-mates in the Bundesliga last term.
The 23-year-old midfielder has scored four goals in 10 appearances for Brazil in his blossoming international career.