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Roberto Firmino may soon inherit the breakneck speed and fluctuating tones of a Liverpudlian accent.
Liverpool is keen on tying the Brazilian down to terms that could see him end his career on Merseyside, according to The Telegraph’s Chris Bascombe, as the club aims to protect its prized assets. Firmino is currently contracted until June 2020.
The move could be prompted by the loss of Philippe Coutinho, who was recently tempted to Barcelona in a transfer reportedly worth £142 million (€160 million). Bascombe believes the board is desperate to not see other star players’ heads turned by lucrative offers. Other recent high-profile departures include Raheem Sterling‘s sale to Manchester City in 2015, and Luis Suarez switching Liverpool for Barcelona the previous summer.
The club hierarchy is confident that losing big names won’t become an enduring issue at Anfield, and that the squad – highlighted by the frontline of Firmino, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mane – will mature under the tutelage of manager Jurgen Klopp. The German’s paperwork runs until 2022, and he stressed his determination to oversee “continued investment into the playing squad, which will allow more growth and more improvement” following Coutinho’s exit.
Firmino was often castigated in the press for a supposedly average goal return, but briefly silenced his naysayers when he fashioned four goals and two assists in a three-game spell during the festive period. He has undeniably been a valuable link as a false nine in Klopp’s 4-3-3 system, helping instigate attacks or keep them alive, and is a selfless user of the ball.
Firmino has recently been in the news for unsavoury reasons. The 26-year-old was accused of racially abusing Everton‘s Mason Holgate in an FA Cup third-round clash last Friday, and is the subject of an ongoing Football Association investigation.
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