Rodgers gushes about Firmino
Rodgers talks up 'top-class' Firmino as he denies rift with Sterling
He dons Brazil's national colours, and comes as a highly rated attacker whose statistics look as impressive as his YouTube videos.
Liverpool's top capture of this summer so far, the £29-million ($61.1m) Roberto Firmino, is the man many think the club are pinning their hopes on following the imminent departure of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City.
And manager Brendan Rodgers is confident that the former Hoffenheim attacker is the missing cog in the Reds' machine.
At a packed media conference in Bangkok yesterday, the gaffer gushed about his latest signing.
Said the 42-year-old Northen Irishman of the 23-year-old Brazilian: "Firmino's a top-class player. He's played in Europe, so he understands it.
"There's no pressure. He'll come to the Premier League, and it will take time to adapt.
"But he has all the traits and the profile in terms of what we want in a player. He works hard, has talent and can score goals. We're really excited."
While not an out-and-out striker, Firmino scored 49 goals in 153 matches for Hoffenheim after joining the German club at the end of 2010.
The attacking midfielder's 21 assists over the last two terms are more than that of any other Brazilian playing in Europe's top five leagues.
Rodgers has moved early during this transfer window and, besides Firmino, has also made other new acquisitions.
The Brazilian has been given extra time off due to his Copa America exertions, but new boys James Milner, Danny Ings, Nathaniel Clyne, Joe Gomez and Adam Bogdan are in Bangkok for the first leg of the club's pre-season tour, which also includes stops in Kuala Lumpur and Australia.
Asked about his decision to recruit early, Rodgers said: "It was important to improve and build the squad for the season. Obviously, we're very pleased with the players we've brought in.
"The key for us is the overall team. Individuals like Raheem (Sterling) will have benefited from the team.
"We aim to be much stronger and more competitive than we were last season, and we're relying on everyone.
"The focus has been really good, the start has been strong. Hopefully, we can remain that way over pre-season and take that confidence into the new season."
The optimism, however, somewhat dissipated when Rodgers was asked about the Sterling saga.
If he sounded guarded, it was understandable.
The 20-year-old England international reportedly vowed never to play for Liverpool with Rodgers in charge.
During the media conference, Rodgers confirmed that Sterling will move to Manchester City in a £49m move, subject to a medical.
However, the Reds boss also insisted that there was no rift with Sterling, despite recent reports saying that the two have fallen out.
Said Rodgers: "The situation currently is very simple. The club have agreed with another club a deal for Raheem to be transferred. Subject to a medical, that will go through.
"Contrary to the last week or so, in terms of what was written, Raheem and I have always remained very strong in our relationship, and have been right up until he left.
"There is no issue there."
BRENDAN COY ON TRANSFER TARGETS
Liverpool are set for a windfall of £49 million ($103m) for the sale of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City.
Some fans bemoaned the loss of one of the most exciting youngsters to come through in England in recent years.
But others, like former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock, think it is "very good" business for the Merseyside club.
However, when asked if Sterling's departure could trigger the arrival of more new additions, manager Brendan Rodgers kept his cards close to his chest.
The Reds have been linked with several players, with Christian Benteke, valued at £32.5m by Aston Villa, their top target.
But Rodgers said: "My only interest is talking about players who are here. They are the most important players at the moment.
"Maybe in the future, something may happen or it may not happen."
When he was later asked again during the media conference if more players are on the way to Anfield, he added: "I don't want to go into this at a press conference.
"Last season I did, and that's something I don't intend to do this season." - GARY LIM
Good, but not a great player
QUESTIONS: Some critics have claimed Raheem Sterling is not worth the £49m Manchester City are set to pay for him.
Liverpool have reached an agreement with Manchester City for the £49-million ($103m) transfer of Raheem Sterling.
The wantaway forward was left out of Liverpool's squad which flew out on Sunday for their pre-season tour of Thailand as talks over the big-money switch progressed.
And England international Sterling, who has been at loggerheads with Liverpool since turning down a new contract earlier this year, is now on the verge of completing his move to the Etihad Stadium.
City have already failed with two bids for Sterling, the second reported to be worth £40m, this summer, with Liverpool understood to be holding out for nearer £50m.
Assuming the 20-year-old agrees terms with City and passes a medical, his protracted and acrimonious departure from Anfield will finally be sealed.
Former Kop hero Phil Thompson reckons his former club have done well to get the mammoth amount they have for the controversial winger, who he believes has much more to prove in his career.
Thompson said: "Liverpool have handled it very well.
"He's certainly a good player, but not a great player and that's why there's not too many Liverpool fans who are going to be shedding any tears tonight.
"They had a price for the young man and they've done it.
"Manchester City started off at £25m which was laughable, but the club have done it right and got the right money.
"Manchester City are paying for potential. Raheem has had 14 assists in three years and scored something like 18 league goals.
"You need a little bit more than that. He's certainly a good player, but not a great player and that's why there's not too many Liverpool fans who are going to be shedding any tears tonight."
Former Man City star Trevor Sinclair has hit out at his old club for paying over the odds to land Sterling.
Taking to social networking site Twitter, the scorer of the first ever goal at the City of Manchester Stadium said: "Too much money paid for Sterling!"
"(A fee of) £40m was more than enough for me."
"Not an ideal situation for homegrown players prices either #inflation."
"I would have maxed at £40m then walked away."
Meanwhile, UK police have launched an investigation into online abuse aimed at Sterling.
The impending move to Man City has left some supporters angry, with Sterling being targeted with racial abuse.
Threats were also posted against his three-year-old daughter, Melody Rose, on Twitter.
A Merseyside Police spokesman told the Mail: "The language used in these tweets is abhorrent.
"We are taking the incident extremely seriously and an investigation by detectives in Liverpool CID is ongoing.
"People who use the Internet to target others and who commit criminal offences such as harassment or hate crime in doing so are not beyond the law and can expect to be brought to justice." - Wire Services.
›Former Liverpool centre back Jamie Carragher:
I wish Lfc bought players as well as they sold them!!
›Another Reds legend Terry McDermott:
So effectively its £49m plus James Milner for Sterling from Manchester City….fantastic business for us #lfc.
›Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand:
Anyone talking about 'loyalty' in football needs a reality check… clubs & players lack loyalty these days… its a business now 100%.
£49 million used to get you Zinedine Zidane, now it gets you Raheem Sterling