Liverpool will have to replace Roberto Firmino one day and it sounds like that day might come soon. Here are three candidates who could do the job.
Liverpool won’t want to replace Roberto Firmino casually. He’s far too important a player to simply swap one year.
Firmino keeps Liverpool ticking, really. He’s the one who moves into space to create for others. The Brazilian might drift wide to allow a winger to cut in or maybe he drops deep for a midfielder to link with.
Then there’s his pressing, which is some of the best of the world for a forward. Throw in his close control around the box and you’ve got a world-class player, even if few appear to respect Firmino that way.
But per the Athletic, Firmino’s contract is up in 2023 and he’s not on the priority list for an extension. It sounds as though Liverpool will try to replace him soon – or at least first – but how could they do that?
We have a look at three internal options for the job.
How to replace Roberto Firmino
First up, Mane. The Athletic claim Mane will get a long-term extension, with his contract also expiring in 2023. That tells us he’s still got a big part to play going forward.
And maybe that role is to play as more of a centre-forward. Mane’s pace is likely to wane a little as he gets older but his energy levels should stay high.
He’s got the pressing ability, the close control and the intelligence to learn Firmino’s role, too. By moving him inside, Liverpool might find the most natural replacement.
We’ve written before that Jota is a real option here. He has all the qualities but isn’t quite there yet.
Jota doesn’t drop deep too well as he much prefers to run in behind. That makes him a fantastic threat on the break but can leave Liverpool without a decent link-man when he’s central.
But we know how highly the club rates him. Pep Lijnders recently called him ‘pure Liverpool’ and that his energy was ‘frightening’. We don’t doubt that they could turn Jota into a magnificent Firmino replacement if they wished.
This one is a big shout, admittedly, but it does appear Liverpool want Elliott to lean how to play centrally. He’s been playing in midfield over pre-season.
We think that’s a great role for him but that skillset might translate to centre-forward, too. Or at least, a False 9.
Elliott is energetic, intelligent and has fantastic close control. He’s a natural creator, too, which is the primary role for Liverpool there.
We could see Elliott becoming a natural at drifting into space and finding a pass for a winger in behind. If Liverpool like him there, the teenager could develop into an ideal player.