Liverpool’s exciting summer signing Roberto Firmino continued his preparations for the Premier League in style on Monday, as the Brazil international bagged a hat-trick in a behind-closed-doors fixture at Melwood.
Welsh side TNS were the opponents, and according to the Daily Star, they were unable to cope with the former Hoffenheim man, who notched a treble of strikes in a 5-1 win. Danny Ings and Lazar Markovic netted the other goals for the Reds, in a game staged to give some fringe players crucial playing time.
Here’s a look at the first two goals the Brazilian netted, per Anfield HQ:
According to Simon Jones of the MailOnline, Firmino is some way behind his team-mates in terms of match fitness, after playing at the Copa America this summer. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers used him from the bench in an 11-minute cameo for the Reds in their opening-day win over Stoke City.
But this is a tantalising taste of what’s potentially to come for the Red supporters, even if the Welsh Premier League side are very modest opposition.
The Selecao Brasileira Twitter feed feels that when the 23-year-old is at full tilt, he could potentially even be a little better than fellow samba star Philippe Coutinho, who netted the Reds’ winner with a sublime strike in that triumph over the Potters:
Getting Firmino into the side will certainly give Liverpool a crucial attacking edge. They looked a little dull going forward at the Britannia Stadium at times, and the Brazilian's silky dribbling, eye for a pass and quality finishing ability will bring something completely different to this side.
But Rodgers must avoid rushing the player back too quickly despite a clamour from supporters to see him in action. The Reds face Bournemouth at home on Monday in their next Premier League date, and while the Anfield crowd will be desperate to see their new player from the start, expect the Northern Irishman to continue slowly integrating him from the substitutes' bench.