Jurgen Klopp has played down suggestions that Roberto Firmino could leave Liverpool this summer and insisted that he still has an ‘essential’ role to play at Anfield.
Reports in Italy earlier this week suggested that Firmino was closing in on a move to Juventus, while he has also been linked with Newcastle in recent months.
But Klopp has confirmed that the 30-year-old won’t be going anywhere as he’s still an invaluable member of the Reds’ squad.
“Bobby is crucial for us,” Klopp said at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s Community Shield against Manchester City.
“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.”
The emergence of Diogo Jota and signing of Luis Diaz saw Firmino’s game time at Liverpool significantly reduced last season.
Having made over 30 Premier League starts for five successive campaigns, the Brazilian featured from the off just 10 times in 2021/22, while he only made a further 10 appearances from the bench.
While Sadio Mane – who played the second half of last season through the middle as opposed to Firmino and Jota – has departed for Bayern Munich, Klopp has strengthened his striking options with the signing of Darwin Nunez from Benfica.