By Carl Markham, PA
Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino is set to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.
The 31-year-old Brazil international is in his eighth year at Anfield but after a good start to the campaign, recent months have been dogged by injury and he has made just five appearances since scoring his last goal on November 12th.
In January manager Jurgen Klopp expressed his desire for Firmino to stay beyond his current deal, having previously said the player was “a complete footballer”, and “plays something like 12 instruments in our orchestra”.
However, the PA news agency understands Firmino, who has made 353 appearances, scored 107 goals and won the Champions League and Premier League with the Reds, has decided not to extend his stay at Anfield.
The arrivals of Darwin Nunez last summer and Cody Gakpo in January mean Klopp currently has seven forwards at his disposal and that has increased the likelihood of Firmino – as the oldest member of the forward line that also includes twentysomethings Fabio Carvalho, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz – facing reduced game time.
It means the former famed front three of him, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah which helped bring so much success to the club in Klopp’s reign will be reduced to just the latter come the start of next season, after Mane left for Bayern Munich in the summer having also chosen not to sign a new deal.
Firmino is one of five players out of contract in the summer, with midfielders Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also set to leave.
The the future of 37-year-old James Milner, who has been extending his contract on a 12-monthly basis, is also unclear, with third-choice goalkeeper Adrian the fifth member of that group whose deals are expiring.