Liverpool favourite may have had head turned as major worry for Klopp emerges and exit talk ramps up

Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool during the FA Cup match between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool at the City Ground, Nottingham

The prospects of Liverpool securing a player Jurgen Klopp loves to a new deal are fading by the day as the wait goes on over an announcement, one observer has warned.

The Reds have struggled to find their best form this season and match the heights they have set themselves in years gone by. Indeed, with the halfway stage of the season now upon us, Liverpool have managed just eight wins from their 19 games.

That leaves Klopp’s side marooned in ninth place and with it all to do if they are secure European football next season.

As it stands, they are 10 points short of fourth-placed Manchester United. And the likes of Fulham, Brentford and Brighton all ahead of them.

Changes are likely to come within the Liverpool squad as a result over the course of 2023. And while signings are likely to come in the summer, as opposed this month, Klopp is certainly eager to bring in some fresh faces.

The major area that Klopp and Liverpool will focus on is the midfield. Jude Bellingham is well documented to be the main subject of their attentions.

But another addition will likely arrive too. Liverpool will likely pursue another new midfielder with both Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and, potentially, James Milner moving on.

Other departures are expected too. Indeed, a report on Monday suggested a Klopp favourite may well be sacrificed to provide the club with additional funds.

Another man who is also out of contract this summer is Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian is a hugely popular figure at Anfield and was described as “the heart and soul” of the club by Klopp earlier this season.

Pundit fears Roberto Firmino may leave Liverpool

The two parties have been involved in extension talks at Anfield for some months. Currently earning £180,000 a week, Firmino has reportedly been offered a new two-year deal that would nail his future to Liverpool until summer 2025.

However, the 31-year-old is not short of other offers either. He has long-standing admirers in Juventus, while Corinthians – the club he supported as a boy – are also reportedly keen.

But the strongest lure may yet come from Saudi Arabia amid claims a cash-rich club are preparing a huge offer to lure Firmino to the Middle East.

Claims he could be tempted to follow Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi have recently been played down by a trusted source, however. And the journalist in question reckons Firmino is committed to extending his stay at Anfield.

However, Liverpool and Firmino are yet to go public on a possible agreement. And the longer the wait goes on, the more likely one observer feels it is that Firmino will depart.

Speaking to Football Insider, pundit Tam McManus has revealed the reasons behind his thinking.

“I feel like this Firmino thing has been going on for a while now,” McManus said.

“He was brilliant for Liverpool at the start of the season. He was banging them in and then unfortunately he’s got that injury that’s kept him out for a long time now.

“Klopp could do with having him back not just because of his quality on the pitch but he’s also a leader. Firmino is one of the senior players there and he’s someone you look to when things aren’t going your way.”

Liverpool need contract saga to be resolved

He continued: “The longer this goes on the more you think there might be a problem. Is it game time? He’s an older player now and Liverpool have a lot of attackers.

“Maybe he wants guarantees that he will be playing because he is getting to the end of his career now. He will want to play as much as he can.

“These talks have been going on so I do think there is something wrong.

“It would have been sorted if everything was fine.”

Despite McManus’ concerns, Liverpool do have belief that Firmino will sign. Still, there may well be a nervousness with the days ticking towards free-agent status.

As it stands, Firmino is also currently free to sign a pre-contract agreement with an overseas club.

Competition for places is extremely tough in Liverpool’s forward line. However, you feel Klopp will always find a place for a fit Firmino in Liverpool’s key matches.

Having lost Sadio Mane last summer, it will be another sad day when Firmino departs. Liverpool will hope that is much further away in the distance than this summer.

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