A pundit has suggested Roberto Firmino should reject the advances of Juventus and remain at Liverpool by taking on a new role under manager Jurgen Klopp.
Firmino made 35 appearances for Liverpool last season, scoring 11 times as they won the FA Cup and Carabao Cup. However, the forward is unlikely to appear as often this term due to the arrival of Darwin Nunez.
Liverpool spent an initial £64million to capture Nunez from Benfica on a five-year contract. The transfer has the potential to be worth £85m, making Nunez the most expensive signing in the club’s history.
The 23-year-old’s huge cost means he will probably start the season as Klopp’s first choice centre-forward. The German can also use Diogo Jota if Nunez struggles during the first few months.
Both Nunez and Jota are ahead of Firmino in the pecking order. That is despite the Brazilian’s massive impact at the club since joining in 2015, and the fact he can still sway games in Liverpool’s favour.
Italian giants Juventus are aiming to pounce on the uncertainty regarding Firmino’s future. They are willing to pay £20million take him to Serie A for the first time.
And as per a recent report from Calciomercato, Firmino is ‘open to leaving Liverpool’ and is ‘welcoming’ when it comes to Juve’s interest.
Klopp insists Firmino is ‘crucial’ for the Reds and this means he will not entertain any bids from Juve, or any other teams.
Juventus represent an intriguing option for Roberto Firmino
But the 30-year-old will know he can feature more regularly by joining Max Allegri’s side. This is because the Bianconeri have lost forwards Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata since last season.
However, pundit Alex McLeish reckons Firmino could opt to stay with Liverpool and take on a surprising role to ensure his future there.
“You never like to see a legend leaving but there does come a day,” McLeish told Football Insider.
“It might be that Firmino isn’t going to be happy being a bit-part player at Liverpool. Would he still like to stay and pass his knowledge on to the young guys?
“Maybe as a semi-player semi-coach. At the end of your career, you know when your legs have gone, I certainly did when I was playing.
“I thought ‘don’t kid yourself on anymore and leave with grace’. Firmino might be searching to play more regular football if he feels up to it.
Can Liverpool really let go of another forward in Roberto Firmino?
Should Liverpool be considering letting go of the 30-year-old?
“It’s up to him, he might want to stay at Liverpool, he can do some great things when he is on the pitch.
“Or does he make one big last hurrah in his career and go somewhere where there isn’t as much pressure?”
It would be intriguing to see how Firmino might perform in a player-coach role. He has great football intelligence and could pass this on to young players such as Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho.
However, it must be remembered that Firmino is only 30 years old. As Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have shown, stars can still perform into their mid 30s.
These are extreme examples, but Roberto Firmino will believe he has at least two or three more years at the top level in the tank.
Due to this, a player-coach role will probably only become a possibility from 2024 onwards.
Meanwhile, Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has given an insight into the team’s pre-season preparations.