Roberto Firmino has dropped a little hint over where his future may lie after naming his dream five-a-side Liverpool team.
The Brazilian star has been at Anfield since June 2015, the Reds paying Hoffenheim a bargain £29m for his signature. Now into his eighth season on Merseyside, the forward has played a major role in their success under Jurgen Klopp. Brought to the club by Klopp’s predecessor, Brendan Rodgers, Firmino has scored 101 goals in 335 appearances for the club.
Firmino, though, falls out of contract next summer. And as a free agent, he will be eligible to sign a pre-contract agreement with overseas suitors in just 101 days. For that reason, he is highly likely to be an attractive proposition for several teams.
The Brazilian was strongly linked with a move to Juventus over the summer. Yet with interest from the Serie A giants gathering pace, Klopp batted their attentions away, suggesting Firmino was ‘the heart and soul’ of Liverpool.
“Bobby is crucial for us,” Klopp said. “Bobby is [the] heart and soul of this team.
“The way we played in the last few years was only possible because of Bobby. That’s why I’m really happy he could train the majority of the time here in the pre-season so far and everything looks really good.
“I am absolutely fine and, for me, there’s no doubt about his quality.
“All the rest, we will see how this year goes, but yes, he is essential for us.”
Indeed, Firmino has played with many greats during his time at Anfield, meaning the selection of an imaginery five-a-side team a difficult task.
However, in an interview with the club’s media team, there were quite a few surprising picks.
Star names his dream Liverpool five-a-side team
“So the first one is Alisson Becker, he is a friend of mine. It is a pleasure to play with him, he is a great player, a great person and he’s the first one on my list.
“Second on my list is Virgil van Dijk. He’s another great friend of mine, he’s a great player and he’s the hardest defender I’ve ever played against. He’s another great friend of mine, he’s a great player. I am a great admirer of his.”
Firmino has played in front of many gifted midfielders at Anfield, with Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Thiago Alcantara all shining over the years.
Yet Firmino had no hesitation in naming another compatriot as his third pick.
“Next is Fabinho. He is a great friend of mine,” he explained. “It is a pleasure to play with him, he is a top player. He deserves everything he has achieved and yes, he is on my list.”
Firmino’s next selection is arguably the most debatable. He has been a part of Liverpool’s famous attacking triumverate with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah both shining.
However, rather than select Mane – now at Bayern Munich – Firmino has gone with another choice.
“It’s getting difficult now. The last two…Phillipe Coutinho, we had a great bond when we played together. It was a privilege to play alongside him. He is an amazing player and I admire him a lot. He is a real inspiration for me.”
Roberto Firmino drops hint over Liverpool future
That last spot, without question, though, has to go to Salah, with the Egyptian setting all sorts of records since signing for the Reds.
Salah opted to extend his deal at Liverpool over the summer, ending months of speculation.
And while Mane was sold to Bayern Munich, doubts still remain over Firmino.
However, the forwards, in naming Salah as his fifth and final choice, has dropped a hint over his own Anfield future.
“At number five is Mohamed Salah,” he revealed. “It is a great privilege to play alongside him, we have a strong bond both on and off the pitch. He is a great player, a great character.
“It is an honour to play with him and I hope we can keep on bringing the Liverpool fans joy for years to come.”
That suggestion that he wants to stick around will come as big boost to Liverpool and their fans. Although not a guaranteed starter these days, it seems Firmino would be content to sign an extension and put to bed those rumours that he could depart in 2023.
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