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Firmino targets strong Coutinho partnership

Liverpool midfielder Roberto Firmino wants to develop a partnership with Philippe Coutinho similar to the one previously shared by Brazil greats Ronaldinho and Ronaldo.

Coutinho helped Brendan Rodgers’ men sign his international team-mate Firmino for £29million from Hoffenheim in June.

The 23-year-old Firmino is yet to make a competitive start for Liverpool, coming off the bench in their 1-0 wins over Stoke City and Bournemouth.

But, when the chance comes, Firmino said his on-field combination with Coutinho could flourish – and he has set his standards high.

“It would be hard for anyone to be as good as Ronaldinho or Ronaldo but me and Philippe are going to do our best to get close to them and be the best players we can be for Brazil,” he said.

“It was ugly what happened in the World Cup semi-final against Germany but there are new players in Brazil to turn things around and who can show that Brazil still has lots of talent and opportunities to be successful.”

Firmino said the chance to play with fellow Brazilians Coutinho and Lucas Leiva, who is expected to leave the club, was part of the season he joined the Premier League outfit.

“He [Coutinho] said it’s a great club with a great squad and a great spirit so I’m really happy to be here,” he said.

“Now I know for myself that the team spirit is really good, because the players gave me a really warm welcome.”

Firmino started his career at Figueirense before a move to Hoffenheim, for whom he scored 32 Bundesliga goals in two seasons.

The 10-time Brazil international said his experience in Germany had made him a better player.

“I am very proud of being Brazilian but I have completely changed the way I play football because Germany is a tougher, faster game which is more tactical with tighter marking,” Firmino said.

“It was a great experience to have a chance to play in Germany for that time but I’m very proud to be a Brazilian player. I consider myself to be half-Brazilian and half-German on the pitch.”

Mon 24 Aug, 2015
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