Liverpool fans have spent the last few seasons distraught over the club's alleged inability to sign top tier or marquee talents. Most fans are realistic enough to understand they'll never see Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo wear the famous Liverpool red, but they still maintain hope that the club can attract players occupying the next echelon of footballing talent in Europe.
Fans have their own ideas which and how many players exist at the next level below Messi and Ronaldo, but UEFA helpfully tries to both quantify and name those players every year with their Best Player Award for the previous season. Thirty-five players make the short list, and Liverpool's very own new boy Robert Firmino ranked at number twenty-eight.
Some will be quick to point out that Firmino earned the honour due to the quality of play at his former club Hoffenheim and thus has very little to do with Liverpool, but the ex-Bundesliga player's decision to move to Merseyside does have very real implications about the club's ability to attract a top player. English teams were only represented three times on the short list, and none of those players were on teams that finished below third place. None of the remaining thirty-two players on the list have yet to make a move to the Premier League, either.
One player out of thirty-five may not sound like much of a coup for Liverpool, especially when the hope is that the club dominates the list in the future in much the same way as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Juventus did this past season. But for a club that dragged itself to a sixth place finish last season, something is certainly better than nothing, and fans will hope that Firmino is the first of many top tier players to begin making their way to Merseyside.
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