Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino may well be the first of the club’s famed front three to leave, according to one pundit.
Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have formed a deadly partnership since forming in 2017. They passed the 250-goal mark as a trio towards the end of Liverpool’s Premier League title-winning season in 2020.
Since then, though, Salah has proved the best of the three players. Mane admitted that the 2020/21 season was his worst in recent memory.
Brazil international Firmino, meanwhile, still performed his vital pressing and defensive role for the Reds, but his goalscoring numbers dropped off again.
Elsewhere, Salah helped fire Liverpool into the top four at the end of the campaign, scoring 31 goals in 51 games.
Diogo Jota’s arrival last September shook up Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s options. The Portuguese netted nine goals in his first 17 games and may have carried on such form had injury not struck.
Jota has played ahead of the injured Firmino this season and, with the contracts of the established front three all running out in 2023, Tony Cascarino fears for Firmino’s future.
“All three of them, Firmino, Salah and Mane have played a high level of football, over a number of seasons,” the pundit told talkSPORT.
“It was who was going to have the knock-on season. I would say Firmino didn’t have the season we know he is capable of – Salah was the best of the three last season.”
The biggest spotlight at Liverpool in recent weeks has been on Salah’s future.
While none of Klopp’s established front three have yet to decide on their futures, the Egyptian’s plans are seen as the biggest priority given his form.
What’s more, several crucial Liverpool stars including Virgil van Dijk have committed to Anfield, leading to uncertainty over Salah.
Reports have claimed that he wants £500,000 per week. That would make him the highest-paid player in the club’s history. Around that, links with Barcelona and Real Madrid remain.
But Liverpool have yet to agree new deals with Mane or Firmino, either.
Cascarino tips Firmino, Liverpool exit
“Maybe Jota coming into the club upset the dynamics of the three in some bizarre way because Jurgen played him, at times. He came in and hit the ground running,” Cascarino said.
“Certainly one will go, it will be who will be the first one to go? At this moment in time, it looks like Firmino.”
Firmino will return to first-team training this week. As such, he could make his return from a hamstring problem in Saturday’s Premier League match away at Brentford.
Jota, though, will push him for a start having enjoyed a strong campaign so far.