Roberto Firmino will soon become the sixth Brazilian to play for Liverpool. I’ve taken a look at the other five and judged if their signings were a hit or a miss.
Diego Cavalieri, 2008-2010
Cavalieri was a goalkeeper signed by Rafa Benitez from Brazilian club Palmeiras and was given the number 1 shirt. When he joined, he told the club’s official website:
“I am sure that one day I can get the number one position but that will only come with hard work.”
This never happened as his Liverpool career never really took off. He made a handful of appearances and was replaced by Australian Brad Jones. It is worth noting that Cavalieri has two caps for the Brazil national team but unfortunately for him, his signing was a MISS.
Fabio Aurelio, 2006-2012
Aurelio was signed on a free Bosman transfer from Rafa’s old club Valencia.
The player was competent as a left-back and as a left winger and scored a number of goals for Liverpool. He established himself in the team as a key player but a series of injuries saw Aurelio reject a pay-as-you-play deal.
Rafa was replaced by Roy Hodgson and the new manager immediately brought Aurelio back on a two-year deal. One of my most memorable moments of Aurelio was when he scored that brilliant free kick at Old Trafford in the 4-1 win. HIT.
The goalkeeper was signed on a free transfer after being released by Italian club Roma and joined Pepe Reina and Brad Jones as Liverpool’s stoppers.
He came into the team as a result of Reina’s suspension. In his second appearance, the Brazilian international conceded a penalty and a red card. He went on to make a total of four appearances for Liverpool.
There was a lot of mystery surrounding Doni after he was allowed to return to Brazil for personal reasons but it later emerged that he suffered a heart attack during a routine medical test at Liverpool. Another ‘keeper who struggled with life at Liverpool. MISS.
Lucas Leiva, 2007-present
Lucas was signed as a highly-rated midfielder from Gremio by Rafa. He initially struggled to break into the team and failed to win over the fans.
He was even booed by his own fans on one occasion. At a time when Liverpool’s midfield included Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, Lucas was finding life in England difficult. But to his credit, from 2010 onwards he turned his career around with a string of strong performances and earned the praise of Liverpool fans.
His progress was halted by a couple of serious knee injuries but for his service to Liverpool, his signing should be deemed as a HIT.
Philippe Coutinho, 2013-present
Coutinho was signed from Inter Milan for a cut price of circa £8 million.
He has become a vital member of the team and last season he scored a number of key goals for Liverpool. It has been reported today that he was instrumental in the acquisition of Firmino. HIT.