Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Roberto Firmino was the best player in the Bundesliga at one stage last season.
Firmino has come under fire after failing to impress at Anfield since his £28.7million move from Hoffenheim in the off-season.
The 24-year-old Brazil international has made just three starts in nine appearances in all competitions for Liverpool this term.
However, as Liverpool prepare to face AFC Bournemouth in the League Cup on Wednesday, Firmino could be a key figure in Klopp’s side.
“He’s a skilled player. I’d say a year ago for a few months for sure he was the best player in the Bundesliga,” Klopp said.
“From the first day everyone could see he can become a very, very good player… when I heard Liverpool took him, I thought ‘good choice’.
“He needed time when he came in but… he’s strong with the ball, physically strong, fast in a good football way, gets his body between opponent and ball.
“So he is an important player for us and I hope he can play tomorrow.”
With Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke out injured, and 20-year-old Divock Origi having made three starts in seven days, Firmino could be deployed as a striker against Bournemouth.
“What kind of player is he? He is in the Brazil national team, and the last game I think he played as a nine, so he can play there,” Klopp said.
“But usually he plays as an offensive midfielder or second striker. He can come in from the wing, he can play in the centre. He has quality and I think everyone recognises that.”