Liverpool alarm as forward Klopp expects to keep appears on Inter Milan shortlist to replace Lukaku

Roberto Firmino and Luis Diaz

Liverpool could lose one of Jurgen Klopp’s most important attackers to Inter Milan amid doubts over the future of Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku, according to reports in Italy.

There has been an evolution of Liverpool’s attack in recent years. This time last year, they were signing Luis Diaz from FC Porto. Then, in the summer, they allowed Sadio Mane to move to Bayern Munich, bringing in Darwin Nunez from Benfica as their new centre-forward.

Most recently, they have also added Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven.

When Mane left, it represented the end of an era. At the peak of Liverpool’s powers under Jurgen Klopp, the Senegal international was part of their famous attacking trident along with Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.

Now, another member of that iconic front three could be on his way out. According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, Firmino is “in the future” of Inter Milan.

The Brazil international is in the final six months of his contract at Anfield. He has returned to form this season, with Klopp recently naming him as the only player who reached their “normal” standards for Liverpool in the first half of the season.

Firmino has indicated that he would like to continue his Liverpool career. As things stand, though, he is yet to put pen to paper on a contract extension.

Therefore, Inter have identified him as a gettable option for next season. According to Gazzetta, he is one of the players they could sign on a free transfer.

Firmino could effectively take the place of Lukaku in the Inter squad. The Belgian striker is on loan with the club for his second spell there from Chelsea. But injuries have prevented him from being as impactful as before.

Hence, Inter might be less keen on a permanent deal than they were when arranging Lukaku’s return. It could prompt a new dilemma for Chelsea as to what to do with him.

Firmino could take new challenge in Serie A

And Liverpool might then lose Firmino for nothing, giving them a problem too. Although he has publicly stated he is happy on Merseyside, some pundits have suggested he may have had his head turned.

Firmino has experienced it all with Liverpool and could take a new challenge with Inter. He has never played in Serie A before, while they have a decent chance of keeping him at Champions League level.

He is obviously a different kind of striker to Lukaku, who is more of a target man. Regardless, Firmino has been in good goalscoring form for Liverpool this season. Indeed, he has netted seven times in 13 Premier League appearances in 2022-23.

Therefore, whoever gets Firmino for next season and beyond will be taking a player who is still effective at the age of 31.

As one of Klopp’s most trusted allies, though, Liverpool will be hoping he can continue his lengthy association with the club he already represents.

Fortunately, the report mentions an alternative for Inter in the shape of Marcus Thuram. The Frenchman will also be available on a free at the end of the season, when he leaves Borussia Monchengladbach.

The competition might be wider for him, which is why Firmino is in Inter’s sights too. But it could be more of a relief for Liverpool that their man isn’t Inter’s only option.

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