Liverpool FC manager Brendan Rodgers has praised Roberto Firmino for the manner in which he has adapted to life as a Red and has revealed that the player is closing in on a first start for the club. However, the Reds are likely to play much of the same line up as they did against Stoke, with Joe Gomez continuing his meteoric rise in a Red shirt.
Liverpool FC signed Roberto Firmino amidst much fanfare earlier in the summer in what was a move touted as a big coup for the club, that had struggled to get their primary transfer targets over the past few seasons.
Firmino returned to Liverpool FC training a bit later than most of the squad due to his involvement with the Brazil Copa America squad, and was consequently some weeks behind his team mates in terms of fitness.
He was given his competitive debut with a 12-minute outing in Sundaya s 1-0 Premier League win at Stoke. He also played in a behind-closed-door friendly against TNS on Monday with a view to boosting his fitness, where he scored a hat-trick.
Rodgers reveals Firmino close to his first start
Rodgers is delighted by how the 23-year-old is adapting so far to life at Anfield, and revealed in his pre-match press conference that the player is close to his first start.
He was quoted as saying by . Liverpoolfc.com: “Hea s building up his fitness really well. Hea s a guy that helps himself because he trains to the maximum every single day and hea s coming along very, very well.
a Hea s a good guy as well and every aspect of life here in Liverpool, hea s thrown himself into a both football and language. He is working very, very hard and hea s getting close.a
Joe Gomez earns rave reviews
Joe Gomez, a new signing from Charlton FC, is predicted to continue in his role at left back after impressing against Stoke, with Rodgers revealing his conversation with Stoke winger Jonathan Walters, who gave his thumbs up to the youngster.
Rodgers also admitted that the 18-year-olda s impressive form since joining the club from Charlton Athletic in June meant that any thoughts of a potential loan deal in order to gain experience were shelved.
a He can play in a few positions a centre-half being his main one a but hea s got the flexibility and qualities to play at full-back. Hea s definitely a player that will add great value to our squad.
a For a young player, 18 years of age, to make his Premier League debut away at Stoke against an outstanding player in Jonathan Walters with the experience he has, to cope as well as he did [was fantastic].
a I spoke to Jonathan after the game and thanked him for giving Joe that experience! He spoke well of him as well and knew he was a tough opponent to play against.a
Rodgers added: a Joe had a decision to make in the summer with a number of high-profile clubs wanting to take him, but he felt his best opportunity to improve and develop was by coming to Liverpool.
a Hea s done that and hea s got into the team. Ia m sure therea ll be moments along the way where we need to manage him, but at the moment hea s enjoying it and knows therea s a lot to learn yet.a
‘Markovic, Moreno still have futures at Anfield, Ings must be patient’
Rodgers went on to speak about the futures of Alberto Moreno and Lazar Markovic, with the two players having lost their place in the side to youngsters Jordan Ibe and Joe Gomez.
He said: a Both players are very talented players a thata s clearly why theya ve come here, because theya re both good players.
a Maybe for the first time in their footballing careers, especially being so young, they find themselves not being a regular. They know very well from the conversations wea ve had that it is a long, tough season and they will certainly be needed.
a Ita s about when the opportunity comes, taking the opportunity and keeping yourself in the team. There is no player that hasna t been told that.
a They are fighting and working well, and when the opportunity comes to play, Ia m sure theya ll both be ready.a
Danny Ings also played and scored in the behind-closed-door friendly on Monday. Rodgers said: a For the likes of Danny and the other players, they had that game a and it was a good game for them. Danny is settling in very well to his life here.a
So, we might just have to wait a bit more for Roberto Firmino to start for Liverpool FC, but, maybe if things are going well out there, we may see Danny Ings come off the bench to make his Liverpool debut.