Iconic Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino is set to depart Anfield at the end of the season, but Jurgen Klopp thinks he already has the perfect replacement in his squad.
The Brazil international has been a key player for the Reds over the years, helping them to win the Champions League, Premier League, Club World Cup, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
But now, Klopp is planning for life without Firmino, who is set to be out of contract and available on a free transfer at the end of the season.
Since joining Liverpool back in 2015, Firmino has made 360 appearances overall, scoring 109 goals and making 79 assists – giving him an outstanding average of 0.52 goal contributions per game.
His energy and reputation for pressing from the front has made him a fan-favourite among Liverpool supporters, so they will no doubt be sad to see him leave.
Looking forward, with Firmino’s next move likely to be his last chance to perform at the highest level, he will have to weigh up how much of a role he would play for any of his potential suitors.
As previously reported by TEAMtalk, the Brazilian has interest from Inter Milan, Roma and Real Madrid, but Barcelona are currently the firm favourites to sign him on a free transfer.
Klopp thinks Gakpo could replace Firmino
Cody Gakpo arrived at Liverpool in January and while the Dutch attacker is yet to tie down a regular starting spot, Klopp thinks he could be the man to succeed Firmino.
Speaking in a recent interview, Klopp said: “I think Bobby in this role is an inspiration for pretty much every player in a similar position, so that’s clear.
“Cody is 23 years old, he was captain of his former club – I had no clue how that happens that early and then when he arrived here you realise, ‘Ah OK, he’s a super-smart kid, really open and a real team player’ and stuff like this.
“On top of that, a really good footballer. He can play this position, can play wide, can play the centre. The real nine, a bit higher up, he can play that as well; double striker, can play that as well.
“So, he can create his own way there on the position, so it’s not like we have to do it exactly [the same] because nobody can do it like Bobby, because nobody is Bobby.”
Gakpo has played 15 games in the Premier for Liverpool this season, scoring five goals and making one assist in the process.
As the Dutchman acclimatises to English football, he is expected to get even better.
With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if Klopp does utilise him in a more ‘Firmino-like role’ in the future.