Former Liverpool defender Markus Babbel believes Roberto Firmino is tailor-made for the Premier League but admits the club have paid a "brutal" fee for the forward.
On Wednesday 24 June, Liverpool confirmed their fifth transfer of the summer in 23-year-old Firmino, with a number of outlets including BBC Sport suggesting the club stumped up a fee of £29m ($46m) – their second highest outlay for a player behind the £35m paid for Andy Carroll in 2011.
Babbel, a member of the Liverpool squad that won five trophies in the 2000-01 season, managed the Brazil international during his brief spell in charge of the Bundesliga side in 2012 and believes his style of play will be warmly appreciated in the Premier League.
But the 42-year-old admits the fee will inevitably put some early pressure on the player. "That is brutal," Babbel told German daily Bild when asked about Firmino's fee. "When I heard that I flinched, because even for Liverpool that is not chicken feed. He is under a certain pressure with this weight on his shoulders."
However, Babbel adds Firmino's development in the Bundesliga means he has the style of a German player rather than a Brazilian, insisting his resolute attitude will win over Liverpool fans.
He said: "Roberto does not lament when he is fouled. He is not an actor, he stands up again. That is beneficial in England, because that is what English fans like to see."
Chelsea star Willian has also backed his countryman to thrive in the Premier League. "He has skills to play for Liverpool. He's a great player. He knows how to score and is strong," the Chelsea winger said to reporters, as quoted by AS.
"Obviously, British football is played differently, very quick and aggressive and it is tough to adapt but I believes he can manage to do it. And other players like Philippe Coutinho, who will also play with him, can help him to make the transition."