Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has admitted that he was surprised Roberto Firmino decided to leave the club. News surfaced last week that the striker would be leaving Liverpool after eight seasons on Merseyside. The Brazilian’s current contract ends at the completion of the campaign.
The coach was asked directly if he was surprised by his striker’s decision during a press conference on Friday.
“Surprised? Yes, a little bit. It could go two ways and it went one. And I respect that a lot,” responded Klopp. “But, it’s completely normal in this kind of long relationship that we have and Bobby has with the club.”
Injury and new additions limit minutes for striker
Firmino’s playing time shrunk this season due to a calf injury and the additions of Darwin Núñez and Cody Gakpo. However, the Brazilian has still performed fairly well for Klopp in a more limited role with the team. He has managed to score 10 goals and add five assists in 25 games in Champions League and Premier League play, combined.
The Brazilian was on the scoresheet in Liverpool’s 7-0 demolishing of rivals Manchester United on Sunday. It was his first goal for the club since November. Klopp applauded the reaction at Anfield when Firmino entered the fray against the Red Devils.
“I loved the reception he got when he came on against United,” stated Klopp. “Now I want to bring this wonderful story to a positive end.”
Klopp insists no time for Firmino goodbyes just yet
“There’s no time for a goodbye or whatever in this moment, there’s enough time for that later in the season,” Klopp also added. “Whenever he will come back, everybody knows that the song [Reds fans’ Bobby Firmino chant] will still be for a long, long time in everybody’s ears.”
“I think he’s one of these players that even when he would come with an opposition team, people would be really happy to see him.”
Firmino has six more opportunities to play in front of the home fans at Anfield. This, however, could be extended if the Reds mount a massive comeback against Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16.
PHOTO : IMAGO / PA Images
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