Jurgen Klopp has admitted his surprise at Roberto Firmino’s decision to leave Liverpool this summer.
The Brazilian will call time on his eight-year stay at Anfield once his contract expires at the end of the season. After a stellar period for Liverpool and Firmino himself, it will be an emotional exit.
And reflecting on the conversation he had with Bobby last week, Klopp told his pre-Bournemouth press conference that it had shocked him a little.
“Yes he told me. Surprised yes a little bit but it’s a normal thing to do, it could go two ways, I respect that a lot,” he said. “It’s completely normal in this kind of long relationship that we have and Bobby has with the club, most of the players and the fans – it’s pretty special and I loved the reception he got against United.
“He told me and now I want to bring this wonderful story to a positive end. He’s completely here, completely committed as everyone can imagine. There’s no time for a goodbye in this moment, we have enough time for that later in the season.
“I’m pretty sure his song will be for a long time in everybody’s ears. He’s one of these players that even if he came back with an opposition team people would be pleased to see him.”
Bobby makes the right decision
Klopp admitting his surprise at Firmino’s decision shows that he really did want to keep him at Liverpool. The German said as much a couple of times publicly and it seems the club did everything they could to keep hold of Bobby.
But as has been analysed over the last week, it’s probably for the best that the 31-year-old now moves on. Steadily becoming more injury prone and no longer a certainty to be picked, Firmino’s best days are behind him.
Thankfully for us, those best days were plentiful, and came at Liverpool. As Jurgen mentions, the Brazil international’s legacy at the club will live long beyond his days as a player. What a bargain he was at £29m.
His song is one of the most regularly sung on a matchday. It isn’t a stretch to say that it will get the odd airing even once Firmino is long gone.
And should he move onto a rival club – which he won’t – you really can see him being warmly welcomed back. Firmino has given everything to Liverpool for nearly a decade. He’s universally popular and will get the goodbye he deserves. We’re as surprised as Klopp that it’s ending this way, but there’s still time to make that goodbye as glorious as possible.
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