Klopp 'surprised' by Firmino's decision to leave Liverpool

[12-03-2023 09:40 AM]

Ammon News - Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he was "surprised" by Roberto Firmino's decision to leave the club at the end of the season but added he wants to end the Brazilian forward's eight-year Anfield career on a high.

Firmino's contract expires in June. He helped Liverpool win the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and Club World Cup among other major honours since joining them from Hoffenheim in June 2015.

"Surprised? Yes, a little bit - it could go two ways and it went one. And I respect that a lot," Klopp said. "But it's completely normal in this kind of long relationship that we have and Bobby has with the club.

"He told me and then the only other thing he said is, 'Now I want to bring this wonderful story to a positive end'."

Firmino, 31, has scored 108 goals in more than 350 games in all competitions and was part of an attacking trio with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane that helped Liverpool win the 2019-20 league title.

Meanwhile, Klopp said he is committed to the summer rebuild of his midfield and the progress of Harvey Elliott and emergence of Stefan Bajcetic has not altered his plans.

Having strengthened the forward line this season, the centre of the pitch is where Klopp is looking to reinforce with Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham a top priority.

Elliott, 19, is the only player to have featured in every match so far while the 18-year-old Bajcetic has become integral to the first team since the turn of the year.

However, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita expected to leave at the end of their contracts this summer and uncertainty over whether 37-year-old James Milner's deal will be extended for another 12 months, there is major work to be done.

"We know exactly what we need. That didn't change," said Klopp.

"But I wouldn't say when we started our planning in September/October that Stefan was already necessarily involved in all of these talks but of course he is now - it would be crazy if not.

"He is a top player and we are really happy that when we had to improve defensively but his defensive contribution is really interesting for each football team.

"The position he plays, he is a really smart player with good vision, good overview, good technique, but we need players, we cannot go with only three midfielders in a season."

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