Hoffenheim used Football Manager to scout Firminho

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Firmino hopes to become the 'Neymar of Liverpool'

The 25 year-old has gone from strength-to-strength at Anfield since his big-money move from Hoffenheim in June 2015, but things could have been very different for the Brazilian.

Firmino was given his break in 2010 when Hoffenheim forked out $5.8 million to sign the 19 year-old form Brazilian side Figueirense FC.

Speaking to talkSPORT presenter Pul Hawksbee, Hoffenheim scout Lutz Pfannenstiel revealed how he used Football Manager to pluck the attacker from obscurity.

Hawksebee said: "Lutz, you were saying with Firmino, you and a colleague found him [on Football Manager], did all the work on it and he went to Hoffenheim for £3.5m ($5.8 million) quid?"

Pfannenstiel confirmed the deal and defended the likes of Football Manager as a means to identify young prospects.

"Yeah, ‘£3.5m roughly,’ he said. ‘If you’re getting a guy from the second league in Brazil, only 17–18-years-old."

"Straight away people think he needs to play in the first team directly. So people were saying you’ve paid that amount for a player who hasn’t made it yet."

"In the end we sold him for €42m plus [future] payments, so in the end I think we did it right."

"I think it’s good scouting, definitely."

Thankfully for Pfannenstiel, the move paid dividends and Hoffenheim went on to sell the Firmino to Liverpool for $48 million just under five years later.