Roberto Firmino breaks silence on Liverpool decision as Jürgen Klopp’s successor becoming clear
Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has broken his silence on his decision to leave the Anfield side at the end of the season when his contract expires after his agent confirmed the move just over a month ago.
Firmino told Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp that he was set to move on and there is expected to be plenty of interest from around the game in his signature on a free transfer, with clubs in Italy and Spain taking a look.
“I won’t say much, because otherwise, I’ll get emotional,” Firmino told ESPN Brazil after his crucial goal against Arsenal that drew the game level at 2-2 over the weekend.
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“Because it’s a beautiful legacy with a beautiful history, at such a big club. I’m very happy and grateful to God for everything we have built here. But it’s a new situation for me; I’ve never been through it.
“I’ve been praying a lot for God to keep me and help me in this process. I’m working hard, always ready to help the team, and we’re together until the end. I want to finish well here with my teammates.”
It is probably the right time for Firmino to move on despite his contribution and game-changing performance against Arsenal, with the forward now 31 and entering the final stages of his career.
Liverpool has left too much to do in its midfield because of aging stars, and so moving some players on when they are over 30 is no bad thing as long as they are adequately replaced.
Firmino’s injury record over the past couple of seasons has been patchy and he has also been overtaken by others in the pecking order, meaning he will play more regularly by heading elsewhere.
Perhaps the first sign that Firmino would be leaving came in January when Liverpool made the move to sign Cody Gakpo from PSV in a deal worth an initial $45m (£37m/€42m), despite the fact it was clear an additional midfielder was more of a priority.
Gakpo has been deployed in the kind of false nine position that Firmino made his own at his peak, and in a similar move to Luis Diaz arriving at Liverpool six months before Sadio Man left, it did feel like some sort of foreshadowing.
Next season, Liverpool will hope to be able to call upon Díaz more frequently with the Colombian having missed a significant chunk of this campaign through injury.
And Gakpo has quietly taken to the role very well so far for Liverpool, with he, Mohamed Salah, Darwin Núñez and Diogo Jota all hoping that they can kick on.
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