The Brazilian international has been a loyal and much-loved player at Anfield, but as his contract edges closer to expiry, a Liverpool exit may be imminent.
The speculation around the futures of two of Liverpool’s famous attacking trio has now been settled.
Sadio Mane had to say goodbye to the supporters at Anfield and choose a new challenge at Bayern Munich twelve months before his Red contract would have expired making it possible for him to leave for free. Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah happily surprised Liverpool fans by signing a new, extremely lucrative contract extension that keeps him committed to the team for the next three years.
Only Roberto Firmino is left, and his future goals are still shrouded in uncertainty. If the Brazilian international’s playing time is any indication, his Reds career is surely close to its end.
Firmino made 20 appearance in the Premier League last season and used to be one of the first names on Jurgen Klopp’s squad sheet. By no means a bad number, but it does indicate that he missed 18 league games due to injury or failure to make the team.
The second of those two possibilities can be explained by the club’s recent inflow of younger, more exciting forward alternatives over the course of a few transfer windows. Diogo Jota was signed for £40 million in the summer of 2020, while Luis Diaz eventually followed in the January 2022 window.
While Diaz plays on the left flank, meaning that his signing had no negative impact on Firmino’s playing time or place in the team’s hierarchy, there have been instances in which Jota has been given preference over Firmino, relegating the former Hoffenheim player to a bench position.
Given the recent arrival of former Benfica forward Darwin Nunez, Firmino may need to adapt to this. The 22-year-old was signed from Portugal for a club record transfer fee of almost £85 million plus add-ons, so he did not come to sit on the bench.
Firmino might be used even more sparingly next season as part of Klopp’s strategy to revive Liverpool’s attack with younger talent considering the fact that he no longer makes the club’s starting front three.
The new formation would appear to be Diaz and Salah working on each flank, Nunez in the middle, and perhaps Jota as the first-choice substitute to replace any of the aforementioned trio who becomes sluggish in the middle of the game.
Allowing Firmino the possibility to leave the team for free in a year would be an odd move from a Liverpool leadership that is typically so strict when it comes to transfer negotiations, both arrivals and exits.
Although there hasn’t been much chatter about any Anfield departures, don’t be surprised if there is a late transfer twist as the window nears it’s end and Liverpool says goodbye to another one of their original star-studded attacking trio.