‘There’s no time for goodbye’
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted that he was “surprised” by Roberto Firmino’s decision to quit Anfield this summer.
The Brazilian striker has been at Liverpool for eight years and his contract is up at the end of the season.
The 31-year-old forward, who joined from Hoffenheim, ultimately decided that he would move on at the end of the season as he can move on a free transfer.
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Firmino can now negotiate a pre-contract to join another club when he becomes a free agent.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the weekend’s action, Klopp discussed the player’s decision.
“Surprised? Yes, a little bit – it could go two ways and it went one. And I respect that a lot,” Klopp told the press.
“But it’s completely normal in this kind of long relationship that we have and Bobby has with the club.”
Firmino missed two months of the season following the World Cup in Qatar last year after suffering a calf injury, and has since made five substitute appearances.
The player has been sidelined by two new signings made this season by Klopp, summer arrival Darwin Nunez and January purchase Cody Gakpo.
Mohamed Salah remains after signing a new contract but it appears that Firmino will now join another experienced forward, Sadio Mane, out the door. Mane moved to Bayern Munich for around £40 million.
Firmino has made 354 appearances for the club so far, with his 108th goal coming on Sunday as Liverpool demolished Manchester United 7-0 on Sunday.
“I loved the reception he got when he came on against United,” added Klopp.
“There’s no time for a goodbye or whatever in this moment, there’s enough time for that later in the season.
“Whenever he will come back, everybody knows that [his] song will still be for a long, long time in everybody’s ears.
“I think he’s one of these players that even when he would come with an opposition team, people would be really happy to see him.”
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