Roberto Firmino is Liverpool’s most exciting attacking signing since Luis Suarez, and many expected he would inherit the number seven last worn at the club by Suarez. However, reports claim the 23-year-old Brazilian star—who wore the 10 at Hoffenheim—has instead requested and been granted the number 11 he wears while on international duty.
The last player to wear the 11 at Liverpool was the quickly forgotten Oussama Assaidi, but it has also belonged to a number of fan favourites over the years, most recently Argentine winger Maxi Rodriguez and, for a time, Robbie Fowler when he returned to the club in 2006. For the most part, though, it’s a shirt with slightly less historical weight to it than some at Liverpool.
Certainly it has less weight to it than the number seven, which had been something of an albatross around the neck of every player who wore it after Kenny Dalglish—at least until Saurez came along. And while Firmino isn’t taking it on, it won’t be staying vacant next season, with fellow new signing James Milner taking it as he chooses to stick with the number he wore at City.
Even with the seven and 11 now taken, the traditional 1-11 numbers remain largely up for grabs next season. Brad Jones, Glen Johnson, and Steven Gerrard are all confirmed departures, and few would be surprised if the club also lost Jose Enrique and Rickie Lambert in the coming months. All told it could leave the numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, and 9 all up for grabs ahead of next season.
At present, only Kolo Toure’s 4, Dejan Lovren’s 6, and Philippe Coutinho’s 10 appear certain along with the new additions of Milner’s 7 and Firmino’s 11.
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