Roberto Firmino is facing a huge month or so as he prepares to convince Jurgen Klopp that he still has a long-term future at Liverpool.
The Liverpool’s star’s future is up in the air, as he officially entered the final year of his contract with The Reds today. With pre-season set to get underway on Monday, he has a fight on his hands to ensure a prolonged stay at Anfield.
The next few weeks could make-or-break whether Bobby’s eighth pre-season at the club will be his last.
Perform well, and he could once again convince Klopp that he is indispensable to Liverpool’s system. Continue to coast, and it could be confirmation that his days are numbered.
Over to you, Bobby
On the face of it, there is still a full year for Firmino to persuade Klopp to extend his reported £180k-a-week deal. However, pre-season gives him the opportunity to stake a claim in Liverpool’s new-look attack.
Following the arrival of Darwin Nunez, most predictions would put Firmino out of Liverpool’s current best attack.
But as Klopp appears to ponder a change of formation, the pieces on the board aren’t exactly clear. With Sadio Mane now departed, places in Liverpool’s front three are more up for grabs than ever.
As a result, if Firmino can slot into the revamped front line in pre-season, he has a chance of staying there when the season proper gets underway. It’ll also give him a chance of making Brazil’s World Cup squad.
Should he fail to do that, it will be difficult to work his way back in over the campaign.
Liverpool face the prospect of one of their longest-serving players being able to speak to other clubs from January. There have already been reports of interest from Juventus. A positive start to the season could see Liverpool keen to ensure that kind of talk doesn’t escalate.
If Firmino is in and out of the side as he was last season, it could serve to only confirm a parting of the ways in the summer.
Over to you, Bobby.