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Report: Liverpool steals Firmino away from Manchester United; After Bacca, Rondon, too

Brazil v Mexico - International Friendly

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JUNE 07: Gerardo Flores of Mexico fights for the ball with Roberto Firmino of Brazil during a friendly match between Brazil and Mexico at Allianz Parque Stadium on June 07, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel/LatinContent/Getty Images)

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There’s been a big twist in the Roberto Firmino transfer tale, as Sky Sports is reporting that the Brazilian wizard will be headed to Anfield instead of rumored landing spot Old Trafford.

The 23-year-old Hoffenheim playmaker is at the Copa America, but the report says he’s agreed to announce a move to Liverpool in the next 24 hours. He can play as a forward, and works well in an advanced midfield role.

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Firmino had previously been tipped as a $30 million purchase for Louis van Gaal at Manchester United, but the Reds have apparently nipped into the fray with the goods to get a deal done.

From Sky Sports:

Sky Sports News HQ reporter Dharmesh Sheth said: “This is potentially very good news for Liverpool.

“We understand that they have agreed a deal with Hoffenheim for attacking midfielder Roberto Firmino.

“He is at the Copa America in Chile at the moment, but he has given Liverpool a verbal undertaking that he will join in the next 24 hours.

“Sources in Germany have also told us that the deal is as good as done.

He’s scored 38 times in 140 appearances for Hoffenheim, including 8 this season, and would join Philippe Coutinho as dangerous and creative Brazilians in Liverpool’s XI.

The Reds could combine Firmino with Coutinho and a forward pairing of Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings to truly threaten Premier League defenses. With Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Jordon Ibe capable of doing a job in the midfield, Firmino’s addition would make reaping major profits on Raheem Sterling even more attractive.

Plus, perhaps Liverpool is making it more intriguing for Sterling to agree to a reasonable contract (though we doubt that).

And they might not be done in adding depth, with dangerous Colombian attacker Carlos Bacca and Venezuelan forward Salomon Rondon on Brendan Rodgers’ radar.

Bacca could leave Sevilla after guiding the La Liga powers to a second-straight Europa League crown, while Rondon scored 20 goals for Zenit Saint Petersburg this year.

Adding just one of those two, in addition to Firmino, would instantly push Liverpool up a peg in the battle for the Premier League crown. And to take the 9-times capped Brazilian away from United? That’s whipped cream on top of the sundae.

Follow @NicholasMendola