Sunday 23 October 2016

"Brutal" transfer fee has Firmino under pressure from start, says former Liverpool star

Carl Markham

Published 26/06/2015 | 19:43

Firmino signed for Liverpool this week
Firmino signed for Liverpool this week

Former Liverpool defender Markus Babbel believes a "brutal" £29million transfer fee puts new signing Roberto Firmino under immediate pressure.

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On Wednesday the Reds confirmed the arrival of the 23-year-old Hoffenheim forward in a deal which will see them pay £22million up front with the rest due in add-ons.

It makes the Brazil international the club's second most expensive signing after £35million flop Andy Carroll and Babbel believes that brings a certain degree of expectation.

"That is brutal," he told German newspaper Bild.

"When I heard that I flinched, because even for Liverpool that is not chicken feed.

"He is under a certain pressure with this weight on his shoulders."

However, despite his concerns over the size of the fee, the former Germany international, who was at Anfield between 2000 and 2004, believes Firmino will be well-suited to the Premier League.

Babbel thinks spending his formative years playing four seasons in the Bundesliga has provided the idea platform for the Premier League.

"He is an atypical Brazilian, more German than many Germans. Roberto is disciplined, has enormous assertiveness," he added.

"Roberto does not complain when he is fouled. He is not an actor, he stands up again. That is beneficial in England, because that is what English fans like to see."

Firmino will hope to transfer his personal Bundesliga form as well as that of Emre Can, who after slow start to his first season following a move from Bayer Leverkusen, excelled playing out of position as a right-sided defender.

The Germany Under-21 international is expected to revert to his more familiar position in central midfield for the new campaign to fill a hole left by departed captain Steven Gerrard, who has moved to Los Angeles Galaxy.

However, he is keen to avoid comparisons with a player recently voted the club's greatest by fans.

"It would be presumptuous if I were to compare myself with Steven Gerrard," Can told Kicker.

"He's a great player who has achieved so much but I'll still take years. I want to go my own way and as Emre Can be perceived."

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