In Brief

Firmino was a bargain signing, says Klopp

Reds manager praises Liverpool's scouts for securing Brazilian striker at a knockdown price

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has heaped praise on the club's scouting network for securing the signature of striker Roberto Firmino at what he believes was a knockdown price.

The Brazilian arrived at Anfield from Hoffenheim in the summer of 2015, at a cost of £29m. 

At the time it was a record transfer fee for the Reds, but Klopp, who was on sabbatical after leaving Borussia Dortmund when the deal was done, thinks Liverpool landed a bargain.

Under the German, Firmino has learned to play as a false nine at the heart of Liverpool's new look attack, says ESPN, adding that "the Brazilian has justified his coach's faith in him with six goals in all competitions" this season.

It has even been claimed that the 25-year-old's presence at Anfield helped persuade Klopp to take the Liverpool job last season.

Before joining the Reds, the manager regarded Firmino as "one of the best in the Bundesliga", reports The Guardian.

Klopp said: "When I saw that Liverpool had signed him, I thought, ‘How could Liverpool do this?’ They were not in their 100 per cent best moment and other clubs would have spent more on him, so I thought, immediately, ‘What a good transfer for them.' When I heard about it I thought they had made a good signing, because I felt pretty sure clubs would have paid a lot more for him."

The manager's backing will doubtless come as a relief to Firmino, who has endured a difficult week. 

He came in for criticism from fans after an anonymous performance in the shock defeat to Bournemouth on Sunday and was also mocked for wearing the same outfit as his wife Larissa for their daughter's Disney-themed birthday party.

"The striker’s unmistakable top knot hairstyle and his unusual choice of dress off the field have made him a target, not only to rival fans, but to even some his own team-mates," notes The Sun. "And he’s likely to cop it again once the pictures of he and Larissa in identical outfits go far and wide."

The Brazilian is also at the centre of a political row between Liverpool and Arsenal after details of his contract were made public.

According to the Football Leaks website, which passed details to Belgian paper Le Soir, Firmino has an £82m buy-out clause in his contract that applies to all clubs except Arsenal, who are prohibited from signing him.

That stipulation is the result of the "acrimonious saga between the two clubs in 2013 when Arsene Wenger attempted to lure Luis Suarez away from Anfield", reports the Daily Mail.

The Gunners tabled an offer of £40m plus £1 for the striker in the belief that would trigger his contract, prompting furious Liverpool owner John Henry to ask: "What do you think they're smoking over there at the Emirates?"

The Firmino clause indicates "an ongoing distaste at the way Arsenal's interest in the Uruguayan was handled", says the paper.

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