Jurgen Klopp has ruled out a Roberto Firmino move from Liverpool to Juventus this summer following swirling transfer rumours.
The Brazilian forward is entering his eighth season at Anfield after his transfer from Hoffenheim. In that time, he has played 327 games for the Reds, forming part of the famed front three alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
But as new signings such as Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez have come in, there has been movement in the front line.
Salah has responded by earning a bumper new contract, while Mane has left for Bayern Munich. Firmino has yet to make any move over his future, but Juventus are supposedly keen on signing him.
Liverpool have a decision to make given he has one year left on his contract and could leave for free next summer.
Speaking at a press conference, Klopp refused to look past the end of the 20223/23 season. But he added that for the upcoming campaign, there is no way a player of Firmino’s quality and importance leaves.
“Bobby is crucial for us,” Klopp said. “Bobby is [the] heart and soul of this team.
“The way we played in the last few years was only possible because of Bobby. That’s why I’m really happy he could train the majority of the time here in the pre-season so far and everything looks really good.
“I am absolutely fine and, for me, there’s no doubt about his quality.
“All the rest, we will see how this year goes, but yes, he is essential for us.”
If he does end up leaving as a free agent, 30-year-old Firmino will look to depart Liverpool on a personal high after last season’s injury troubles.
Klopp talks Fabio Carvalho progress
At the other end of the career spectrum, new Liverpool signing Fabio Carvalho is only just getting started.
The 19-year-old has impressed in his pre-season performances so far following his arrival from Fulham.
Thursday’s 1-0 defeat to RB Salzburg was a “little low” for the Portugal hopeful according to Klopp, after impressing earlier on in pre-season.
But Klopp has no concerns that Carvalho is on an exciting path to better things.
“Absolutely, but last night he was tired as well, you could see that,” the manager said. “He’s a technical player, he’s incredibly creative and we will have a lot of fun with him definitely.
“That’s a good example because Fabio last night was OK but can be much better, and that’s just how it is.
“You need all these kind of things, you need these little lows as well. I’m really happy with him.
“He showed up, he’s in the middle of the team after a short period of time and that’s a good sign for the team but for him as well. So, he’s an open, young man and a top addition for us.”
Liverpool add experience and youth
Firmino and Carvalho are cases in point for why Liverpool have got the blend between experience and youth exactly right in their squad.
Firmino has been with Klopp right from the start and is one of the manager’s most-used players.
Can Liverpool really let go of another forward in Roberto Firmino?
Should Liverpool be considering letting go of the 30-year-old?
He has contributed so much to the recent success at Anfield. Meanwhile, Carvalho has lots of untapped potential and can not only impact the first team in his debut season, but learn from his elders.
Klopp has claimed that he has never had a group quite like his current Liverpool crop and he is exactly right.