Ryan Babel was one of the most exciting signings I can remember as a fan, because he had all the tools, as it were, to succeed at Liverpool. Pace, technique, shot power, flair, a natural swagger, balance, and a physique tailored for the English game should have brought him much success at the club. Babel never fulfilled his potential and has been at a number of clubs since then, trying to find a home for his talents. The next step in his journey is Al-Ain in the UAE Arabian Gulf Leeague.
Yet Babel is one of the few former Liverpool players who didn't quite work who still enjoy a lot of support among the Liverpool fanbase. He's certainly an interesting character, but maybe it was the idea of what could have been that makes Babel someone many fans remember. The club have signed a player who could potentially ignite the fanbase, and that's Roberto Firmino. Babel's status as a former Liverpool player and a former teammate of the Brazilian international puts him in a privileged position to comment on the £29 millions signing, and the 28-year-old shared his thoughts with the club's official website.
He is a tricky player. He can dribble, shoot, he has a great shot, he can play a lot of through balls and his assists are very good. He is actually also great at heading, which maybe you wouldn't think because he's not that tall, but he's very good at it. He's the kind of player that likes the ball at his feet and to do nice things with it, but something he learned in Germany was how to work without the ball and defend. I know how important that is in England, what you do without the ball. It was something he had to learn in Germany. I'm very happy for him. He's very talented and now it is down to him. He is the kind of player that can give a lot of joy to Liverpool fans because he's a very skilful player.
Babel went on to talk about how Firmino was adapting to life in Germany when the Dutchman arrived at Hoffenheim, and there was insight into an attitude that will delight Liverpool fans. A player who is "very likeable" as Babel characterised the 23-year-old could become a player who fans may grow quickly attached to. Before then, Firmino will have to recover from his exploits in the Copa America before joining the club's pre-season preparations. The £29 million summer signing brings both excitement with the quality he possesses, but praise such as this makes fans anticipate his arrival even more.
The style, application, and technical qualities displayed in the Bundesliga will be needed as Raheem Sterling is likely to depart this summer, but there may be additional plans to replace the young England international. The prospect of Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho linking up together as club regulars at Liverpool should provide hope that this season can be one of real progress for the club.
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