Jurgen Klopp reveals who will replace Roberto Firmino at Liverpool as Barcelona-linked Brazilian prepares to leave as free agent
- South American preparing to depart
- Won multiple major honours at Anfield
- Dutch forward backed to step up
WHAT HAPPENED? The Reds are preparing to bid farewell to the Brazil international as a free agent this summer, after he decided not to sign a new contract at Anfield. Firmino – who has savoured Champions League, Premier League, Club World Cup, FA Cup and Carabao Cup triumphs with Liverpool – is being linked with a move to Barcelona. Following in his footsteps will not be easy for anybody charged with that task on Merseyside, but Klopp is convinced that versatile Netherlands international Gakpo is up for the challenge.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Klopp has said of ushering in a new attacking era for the Reds, with Firmino following Sadio Mane out of Anfield: “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.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Gakpo endured a slow start to his spell in English football following a January transfer from PSV, but he now has five Premier League goals and one assist to his name.
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WHAT NEXT? Liverpool have found the going tough at times this season, with questions being asked of how badly they miss Mane, but the likes of Gakpo, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota are hoping to keep the Reds firing for the foreseeable future alongside Egyptian talisman Mohamed Salah.