Three reasons Liverpool signing Roberto Firmino can fill Raheem Sterling void

Three reasons why Liverpool signing Roberto Firmino can replace Man City-bound Raheem Sterling at Anfield

By Josh Phillips

Goals

Although Raheem Sterling has hardly been prolific in front of goal during his time at Liverpool, he has scored 16 goals in the last two seasons. Brendan Rodgers will be hoping Roberto Firmino not only matches but exceeds that tally. Judging by his average of just over seven goals-a-season over the past three years in the Bundesliga, it looks a good bet that the Brazilian will find the net with some regularity for the Reds. If the £29m man hits the ground running, he may even get close to the 16 goals he managed for Hoffenheim during the 2013/14 campaign.

Creating chances

It is widely recognised that Sterling failed to hit the heights of the 2013/14 season last time out so it may come as a surprise to see that he created a whopping 75 chances last season (including assists). However, when you compare the chances created by the two playmakers over the last two seasons, Firmino has superior stats with 141 chances created compared to Sterling’s 127. So, on paper, it once again seems that Liverpool are more than replacing the creativity of Sterling. Provided Firmino adapts to the Premier League, Liverpool fans certainly have reason to be excited about their new arrival who is sure to create a large proportion of their chances along with countryman Philippe Coutinho.

Defensive work

One thing seems certain with Firmino. If he isn’t a success at Anfield, it won’t be through lack of effort. For an attacking player, his defensive stats over the last three seasons show the willing worker he will be for the team. In this time, the man with 10 Brazil caps to his name has averaged 2.7 tackles per game in contrast to Sterling’s 1.3. Firmino also helps out with defensive duties more than the soon-to-be £49m man, with 26 defensive clearances last campaign – that’s double the England international’s tally. The only question is can he maintain his strong defensive stats in a more physical league. Only time will tell but Firmino does seem to be a team player with a good attitude as shown by his off the ball work, perhaps something the Reds lacked last season.

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