A new report hints that Liverpool will head in a new direction once Roberto Firmino leaves the club. The Brazilian is out of contract soon.
But it’s an interesting pursuit for another reason. Liverpool, after all, don’t need another forward right now as they boast Darwin Nunez, Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino.
They may, however, need a new one in a year’s time as Firmino’s contract expires. That brings up another question, though, as Antony cannot possibly be a replacement for the Reds’ no.9. He’s a winger, not a False 9.
And with that, we get a hint that Liverpool have no intention of replacing Firmino at all.
When Roberto Firmino leaves
Firmino is an incredibly unique forward and one that has brought so much to Liverpool. He’s a striker but he isn’t – a player capable of delivering multiple roles in one.
The Reds do use him to lead the line, for instance, but Firmino is also their playmaker who creates a link with midfield. He also drags defenders away for the wingers to capitalise on, all while being a world-class defensive forward.
“Bobby, for people with football knowledge, I’m pretty sure when he ends playing people will write books about how he interpreted the false nine position,” said Jurgen Klopp last year. “I won’t say he invented it! But the way he plays it from time to time looks that way.
“Some of the defensive things he did on the pitch are absolutely insane.
“Offensively he is obviously a nice link-up player and he scores from time to time. Bobby knows how much we appreciates what he is doing and that is what matters most.”
There are remarkably few players capable of replacing what Firmino brings. It’s actually possible that there aren’t any, at least at the elite level.
And so we wonder if Liverpool’s interest in Antony is evidence that they don’t intend to replace Firmino. They’ll add another forward but won’t try for a False 9. Certainly, signing Darwin Nunez suggests that’s the plan, too.
The Uruguayan is an out-and-out striker who uses physicality to play up against defenders. He’ll change how Liverpool play and the players recognise that, too.
It seems, then, that Firmino leaving will bring about a complete change in the Reds’ forward line. He’s so good that they won’t even try to replace what he brings – and there’s no bigger compliment to the player.