By 90Min
September 16, 2019

Brendan Rodgers had doubts over signing Roberto Firmino in the summer of 2015 when he was Liverpool manager - because he wanted Christian Benteke to spearhead his attack instead.

Firmino moved to Anfield for £29m in the summer of 2015, joining alongside Benteke, who cost £3.5m more when moving from Premier League rivals Aston Villa.

Whilst Firmino has netted 68 times for Liverpool in 199 appearances and makes up a crucial part of a deadly front three that also contains Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, Benteke lasted just one year before he left for Crystal Palace in 2016.

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However, according to The Athletic, then Reds boss Rodgers was not convinced by Firmino and was forced to compromise with the club's hierarchy, allowing the Brazilian to move to Merseyside alongside Benteke.

Rodgers was sacked just two months into the 2015/16 campaign, though, being replaced by Jurgen Klopp, who instantly favoured Firmino over the Belgian international. Since then, Firmino has gone on to lead the Reds line with aplomb and helped fire the club to a sixth Champions League crown last season.

The 27-year-old did not start on Saturday against Newcastle in the Premier League as Klopp intended to rest the forward ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League encounter with Napoli. But an injury to Divock Origi in the first half meant Firmino came on before half time and his impact was immediate - as he brilliantly assisted Salah for Liverpool's third and final goal.

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Such was his impact, teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold claimed after the game that he was running out of superlatives to describe how good Firmino is. As quoted by the Daily Star, the England full-back said: “I’m running out of words to describe him. He’s an unbelievable player. I’ve said it before – he’s priceless to us.

“For us he’s the best player we could have. He’s the one that makes everything tick, he’s the glue that holds everything together. The quality he showed here – his work on and off the ball, especially that second assist – was world-class. He is a world-class player.”

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