Liverpool officially announce capture of Roberto Firmino
Liverpool officially announce capture of Roberto Firmino

Liverpool have moved swiftly to complete a deal for Roberto Firmino, announcing on Wednesday morning that the player will make the switch to Merseyside - subject a medical.

The news comes only a few days after the Reds were initially linked with 'hijacking' Manchester United's interest in the Brazilian, who was believed to be close to sealing a move to Old Trafford.

But the Red Devils then coolled their interest, allowing Liverpool to swoop in and claim a massive signature by completing a deal believed to be in the region of £22 million for the 23-year-old, rising to £29 million.

Firmino, currently at Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, has assured the club that he will sign a long-term contract - believed to tie him down at Anfield until 2020. 

Firmino buy represents big statement from Liverpool

It is the first major signing they have made since bringing in Luis Suarez from Ajax in 2011, and makes Firmino the club's second-most expensive ever signing.

But the Brazilian, who is currently impressing for his country at the Copa America alongside Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, has more than demonstrated his worth over the last two years.

In a forward-thinking Hoffenheim side, Firmino has scored 32 goals and created 37 assists in 73 league and cup appearances over the last two seasons alone.

Not to mention, coming into a side who will be looking to adapt the same scintillating attacking, high-pressing brand of football that almost took them to a title in 2013-14 may bode well, given that Firmino has completed 175 tackles over the last two campaigns - a tally only bettered by five other Bundesliga players.

Furthermore, Firmino is third only to Eden Hazard and Lionel Messi in terms of successful dribbles over those two seasons - completing 244, with the nearest Liverpool player being Raheem Sterling, who completed 172 dribbles.

Firmino, who played 151 games for Hoffenheim across a four-and-a-half-year stay, is set to officially link up with his side and complete a medical upon completion of Brazil's Copa America campaign - which sees them take on Paraguay in the quarter-finals this Saturday.

Reds ready to do serious business

Firmino becomes Liverpool's fifth signing of the summer already, but they by no means look like they've finished yet.

A deal is still expected to be completed for Nathaniel Clyne, the Southampton right-back who supposedly has his heart set on moving - but the Reds will need to up their current offer, which is a few million off of the South Coast club's valuation.

Firmino's arrival is also thought not to disrupt Brendan Rodgers' attempts to bring in another striker, with the likes of Carlos Bacca and Salomon Rondon rumoured targets.

Sky Sports indicated earlier this week, along with Firmino, that Liverpool have already held talks with the two South American stars at the Copa America in Chile.

Bacca, who helped Sevilla retain their UEFA Europa League crown with a brace in their 3-2 final victory over Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk last month, is believed to be the preferred target.

The 28-year-old could be available for £21.5 million, with Liverpool put off by Aston Villa's £32.5 million asking price for Belgian forward Christian Benteke.

Elsewhere, Rondon - who hit 20 goals in 39 games for Russian Premier League winners Zenit St Petersburg - is another option, who could be brought in for around £15 million from Andres Villas Boas' side.

The Reds are also being heavily linked with a move for highly-rated Inter Milan midfielder Mateo Kovacic, though no reliable English sources are yet to pick up on any potential deal.

In terms of outgoings, Firmino's signature leaves Raheem Sterling's situation up in arms. The wantaway winger - who can also play centrally - has already been the subject of two Manchester City bids, but Liverpool are holding out for closer to £50 million.

Not wanting to lose their man, Manuel Pelligrini's City - who finished as runners-up last year - are believed to be readying a suitable package, which will also see the 20-year-old English international given wages in the region of £150,000-a-week as they look to build around a homegrown core. 

Firmino, meanwhile, joins James Milner, Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan and Joe Gomez as this summer's new recruits at Liverpool.