Liverpool are sitting pretty atop the Premier League table having played some blistering football this season. While their talisman Philippe Coutinho has received the majority of the plaudits, his compatriot Roberto Firmino has made a significant contribution to Liverpool’s rise in the Premier League this season.
The 25-year-old has already registered 5 goals and 5 assists for the Reds this campaign and he is becoming a fan favourite at Anfield.
Firmino joined Liverpool from Hoffenheim in June 2015 for £29 million and Hoffenheim’s scout, Lutz Pfannenstiel recently revealed that he came across the Brazilian through the popular game Footballer Manager, developed by Sports Interactive. Pfannenstiel and a colleague of his discovered Firmino on Football Manager and then scouted him.
Hoffenheim signed Firmino from Brazilian club Figueirense in December 2010 for £3.5 million and Pfannenstiel admitted that paying that amount of money back then for a teenager from the second tier of Brazilian football was a risk.
“If you’re getting a guy from the second league in Brazil, only 17–18-years-old, straight away people think he needs to play in the first team directly,” he told Talksport.
“So people were saying you’ve paid that amount for a player who hasn’t made it yet. In the end, we sold him for €42m plus [future] payments, so in the end, I think we did it right. I think it’s good scouting, definitely.”
He convinced Hoffenheim to sign Firmino and the transfer proved to be a masterstroke as the Brazilian had a fabulous four-year spell with the German club. He made 153 appearances for the club racking up 49 goals and 36 assists. He also won the Bundesliga Breakthrough Player of the season award at the end of the 2013-14 campaign.
Pfannenstiel also said that digital scouting tools have made the job of scouts a lot easier and those tools came to his aid while scouting Firmino.
“We used a lot of tools, including SAP, to provide the data," he said. “Once you have a list five or six players, then you need to think about mentality and you need to watch players personally and find out about their mentality, especially when moving country is involved. [With Firmino] we worked hand in hand with his agent, who has a great scouting network."
The 42-year-old also backed a few of the young players in the Bundesliga to have bright futures. “Niklas Süle and Nadim Amiri from Hoffenheim have a great future,” he said. “Also look out for [Emre] Mor and [Christian] Pulisic from Dortmund and Julian Brandt from Bayer Leverkusen."
Hoffenheim have a good scouting team led by Pfannenstiel and they’ve discovered talents like Luiz Gustavo and Kevin Volland. Pfannenstiel, who was a goalkeeper during his playing days is the only player in the history of the game to have played in all six of the FIFA Confederations.
Liverpool fans will be thankful to the Hoffenheim scout that he discovered the Brazilian, who is presently one of the key figures in Jurgen Klopp’s side. Firmino and Liverpool travel to the St.Mary’s this Saturday hoping to consolidate their position at the top of the Premier League table.
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