Few will have forgotten that Liverpool signed Brazilian playmaker and potential breakout star Roberto Firmino earlier this summer, but with a handful of other new signings introduced in the first week of July and the club embarking on their preseason tour, the 23-year-old's transfer has taken something of a backseat. Make no mistake, he is the marquee signing of Liverpool's summer window, even if another player ends up costing more, and his arrival is the most anticipated of the summer.
That sentiment is shared by the player, who opened up about the process of signing, the role that Philippe Coutinho played, and, despite the fact that he's among the most expensive players ever purchased by the club, he's not terribly concerned with the expectation that comes along with such a fee:
"I see (the transfer fee) rather as a recognition and confirmation. I chose Liverpool because they have taken over a year for me. Right away, I had a good feeling. Of course, I did some research on the internet. It has already impressed me, the gigantic significance of the club worldwide. It is, next to Manchester United, the best known and most popular English club. Being at the stadium at Anfield with the fans. I get goose bumps already just thinking about how they will sing ‘You'll never walk alone'.
"Of course, (Coutinho and I) talked with the national team about Liverpool. He has totally raved about the club. It will help me, sure. He's my countryman and knows much already about the club, with which he can help me and make settling in easier. We understand each other well. I'm in the best league in the world, and I can develop myself there. Physically it is a completely new challenge, with the three (domestic) competitions and the Europa League there could be more than twice the number of games. With the national team there can be more than 60 games!"
There's not a long wait now, and while wishing away time is not necessarily the most advisable strategy, it's going to be awfully exciting to see him join up with the Liverpool squad upon their return from the preseason tour. There's been plenty of reasons for optimism in the squad already, and with Firmino joining up along with the likes of Coutinho, Emre Can, and, very likely, additional new signing Christian Benteke, Liverpool can hopefully feel confident heading into the season opener at Stoke City on August 9th.
That feeling would certainly be on the opposite end of the spectrum from their last visit to the Britannia, when it looked as though their complete capitulation would spell the end of Brendan Rodgers' tenure as manager. This time around the squad will look far different, with no less than three or four new starters expected, and ideally those new faces--Firmino included--bring with them more success.