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Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson: Roberto Firmino has been brilliant

Roberto Firmino has enjoyed an excellent start to 2016 with Liverpool.

Roberto Firmino is growing in influence at Liverpool and showing why the club signed him last summer, according to club captain Jordan Henderson.

Firmino made a low-key start to life at Anfield under then-manager Brendan Rodgers after joining for £29 million from Hoffenheim, but the Brazilian has hit his stride in 2016.

He has become a favourite of current boss Jurgen Klopp and showed his importance again by contributing a goal and an assist in the 2-0 defeat of Manchester United in Thursday's Europa League round-of-16 first leg.

In fact, the 24-year-old has been involved in more goals than any other player in the Premier League in 2016. He has scored seven goals and provided four assists, which puts him one ahead of Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (nine goals, one assist) and Chelsea's Diego Costa (six goals, four assists).

That form has helped him to impress his teammates, with Henderson telling the official Liverpool FC magazine he was an unknown quantity when he arrived.

"Being completely honest, I had seen very little of him before he arrived here from the Bundesliga last year," Henderson said. "Naturally, he needed some time to settle in but he's been brilliant for us, especially over the last few months.

"He's a very, very good player with a lot of skill who also works extremely hard for the team. He's provided goals and I think he's much more robust than people realise, he's quite wiry. Now it's about him continuing to grow and get even better."

Henderson also praised the progress now being made under Jurgen Klopp, with the Reds winning three successive Premier League games in addition to the Europa League wins over Augsburg and United.

"I think first and foremost he brings a lot of positive energy and enthusiasm to the team and the club," Henderson said regarding the former Borussia Dortmund boss.

"Already I think he's had a big influence on all of us and I'm certain that the longer we work with him the better we'll become as a team.

"Tactically, he's very good. We do stuff on the training field that I see us taking into game situations and that's pleasing. It will take time, though. The more we train with him, the more he'll be able to put his own stamp on things."

Tom is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. Follow him @writertombell.

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