Jurgen Klopp drops clearest Liverpool transfer hint yet as five decisions expected

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Roberto Firmino will not be the only Liverpool player given a farewell at Anfield against Aston Villa.

If Roberto Firmino’s King Power Stadium serenade was the aperitif for what is expected at Anfield then those attending had better start warming up their vocal chords.

The only reason the 10-minute-long chant of Si Senor was curtailed was because of Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s sumptuous free-kick. Had Liverpool not bagged a third in their comfortable triumph over Leicester City then it wouldn’t be unfathomable to suggest the song from the travelling Kopites may not have halted. It was belted out with gusto. At times,when it appeared the anthem may finally quell, the next verse swiftly became more vociferous.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was a fitting tribute to a modern-day great. During his eight years at Liverpool, Firmino has been often regarded as the unsung hero. Those on the outside of the Red spectrum have lavished Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk and Alexander-Arnold with the most praise.

But during an era in which Jurgen Klopp has turned Liverpool from perpetual underachievers to kings of England and conquerors of Europe, Firmino’s been at the fulcrum. The Anfield boss, his coaching staff, team-mates and fans alike have never undervalued the Brazilian selflessness. The quiet assassin’s movement is a chief reason why Salah and Mane thrived.

Despite not being in the match-day squad for the 3-0 victory over Leicester because of injury, Firmino still travelled. What a decision it proved to be. His face as his name was chanted was priceless - as was the reaction after the full-time whistle.

Yet the 31-year-old has opted to call time on his Liverpool career. He’s decided not to extend his contract and will depart at the end of the season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Klopp is hopeful that Firmino will be back fit for the Reds’ final home game of the campaign against Aston Villa. One final Anfield outing is the least he deserves.

“So, we drive home, tomorrow will be a day off – not for him but for the others – and then Wednesday team training he will be in, that’s my information,” said Klopp after the Leicester win.

“So, now we have to see because the Saturday game is a super-difficult game for plenty of reasons. Probably a farewell around the game for a few players and then playing for absolutely everything against [the] second or third-best team in the Premier League in the second part of the season. That’s super-challenging, so we have to see. In the middle of everything, we have to win the game, we have to go for it.

“But around that, we want to show really the respect and appreciation and the love we feel for not only Bobby but Bobby as well, all the boys who will leave in the summer. So, it will be a special day with a difficult game in between or around whatever. We have to make sure that we can do both.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Amid his comments, Klopp gave the clearest indication yet that Firmino will not be the only player leaving this summer. We’ve known for a while that for a while without any confirmation but this was as close to an announcement as we’ve got so far.

James Milner joined Liverpool in the same summer as Firmino. Together, they’ve been two trusted lieutenants and helped Liverpool win the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup.

Milner is another who Klopp wanted to keep. But the midfielder is now 37 and his game-time has diminished. Keen to continue his playing days, the evergreen Milner is expected to join Brighton & Hove Albion on a free transfer.

But four other players set to exit Liverpool may not get one final Anfield appearance.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is poised to depart. Signed for £35 million from Arsenal in 2017, injuries have ravaged his Reds career. While he leaves with six major honours, Oxlade-Chamberlain has made only 146 appearances - an average of 24 per season. The midfielder has been left out of the previous nine match-day squads and with Liverpool still in the race for Champions League qualification, there will be little room for sentiment.

Naby Keita may not even be fit to enough to be on the bench if Klopp did wish to include him. That’s been the tale of his Liverpool stay. Having been recruited for £52 million from RB Leipzig in 2018, Keita’s availability has been sparse and he’s played just 129 times in total.

The other player out of contract is Adrian. The Spaniard was previously deputy goalkeeper to Alisson Becker but the emergence of Caoimhin Kelleher means Adrian is firmly first choice these days. Whether the 35-year-old wants to remain as backup is the question.

Meanwhile, Arthur Melo will head back to Juventus after his season-long loan. The midfielder was on the bench against Leicester but has still played just 13 minutes of action since his arrival on summer transfer deadline day.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.