five Liverpool players that are ready to take over as the club’s defining player in Roberto Firmino’s position
Roberto Firmino is set to depart Liverpool at the end of the season, but who will step into his shoes?
Robert Firmino is hovered to leave Liverpool at the end of the season, signaling the end of an era.
The beloved Brazilian will be best remembered for his pivotal role in Liverpool’s trophy-winning offensive trio, which included Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, and which has come to define Jürgen Klopp’s rule on Merseyside.
Yet, with word coming on Friday that ‘Bobby’ will no longer be a Red come the summer, who will replace the vacuum left in that centre forward spot where he used to weave together everything beautiful about Liverpool’s attack?
Summer acquisition Nunez has had his detractors since joining the Reds in a big-money deal, but the more games he plays, the better he looks in this changing lineup.
Nunez has had some success down the left recently, but with Luis Diaz likely to be preferred in that position, can he establish a suitable name for himself as the Reds’ new number nine? He possesses the goal-scoring skills and physicality to play the role, but it would be a departure from the more cultured Firmino role that fans have grown accustomed to over the years. Make no mistake about it: the Uruguayan will be competing for the position.
If there is one thing Klopp values in his forwards, it is variety. Jota, a Portuguese striker, provides him with that in spades, working down the left or in and around the six-yard box. Jota’s pedigree and penalty box skills make him an excellent candidate for the role, and with the right players around him, he may be the short-term solution that puts Liverpool back on track. Of course, he has to stay fit.
With the Reds struggling for goals recently, some have suggested moving the Egyptian King from his preferred right-hand side seat to the center. There’s little doubt he can play the role, having done so numerous times when asked by Klopp, but the most of his 176 goals have come from the right side. With so many other options, we don’t see Salah taking Firmino’s central role any time soon.
The Netherlands forward had a strong World Cup before joining Liverpool on a surprise transfer from PSV Eindhoven at the start of the January transfer window. He struggled at first but appears to be settling into a new league. The 24-year-old is better known in Holland for playing on the left wing, but Klopp has recently used him as a central striker, scoring two goals himself.
His proclivity to drop deep for the ball has led some to speculate that he is being groomed as Firmino’s natural successor, but with competition fierce, it remains to be seen how many consecutive opportunities he will be given in that role as the Reds attempt to secure fourth place in the Premier League and Champions League qualification for next season. Although he is a viable possibility in that role, he may need to get to work right away if he is to make the job his own beginning next season.
Carvalho arrived at Anfield in the summer with a solid reputation, having played in Fulham’s Championship-winning team. The 20-year-old was used as a number 10 for the West London club, connecting dangerous strikers such as Aleksandar Mitrovic.
His game time has been rather restricted since joining the Reds, with 18 appearances in all competitions yielding three goals, including a last-gasp victory against Newcastle United. But, with Firmino out of the picture, might Carvalho step up to fill the void? The competition appears to be tough, and he may need a strong preseason to convince Klopp that he is the way to go.