Stewart Downing believes Roberto Firmino will push for an exit from Liverpool
Former Liverpool midfielder Stewart Downing has tipped Roberto Firmino to look for an exit from Merseyside as his contract expires in 2023. The 30-year-old’s contract will wind up at the end of next season unless the Reds extend it.
Speaking to 360 Sports TV as quoted by the Express, Downing believes a lack of game time could make the Brazil national think about his future.
“Towards the end of last season, Roberto Firmino didn’t play as often as he would like.”
“It’s the cycle of football. Diogo Jota came in and surprised everyone. Then there’s Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz, who got shifted into the side ahead of Firmino.
“I hope Darwin Nunez hits the ground running, but I see Firmino being a backup player to him.”
The former midfielder hopes Firmino can get back to his best as the Brazilian offers something different to the team, but the former Red thinks the 30-year-old’s time at Anfield is nearing its end.
“It will probably be his last year, or he might do until January.”
Liverpool should keep Firmino
Like Downing said, Firmino offers the team a completely different dimension. His vision and creativity in the final third are up there with the best players on the team.
When the Brazilian is on the pitch, he gives the team more balance in the midfield, dropping deep to receive the ball and bringing the wingers into play. He was one-third of the world-renowned but now broken front three of Firmino-Sadio Mane-Mohamed Salah.
The 30-year-old might not be the first name on the team sheet, but his impact was undeniable in the initial seasons as Jurgen Klopp took over. The forward only featured in 20 league games last season, although injuries haven’t helped his cause.
Jota and Diaz have carved a place for themselves in the team ahead of Firmino. Nunez will likely be ahead of Firmino in the pecking order after his much-hyped move from Benfica.
Fans would have noticed that Klopp’s dependence on Firmino in the team has dwindled over the last few seasons. With new additions to the team, the Brazilian could be surplus to requirements.
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What remains evident is the quality and flair the 30-year-old possesses. His work rate is another aspect that has made fans fall in love with the Brazil national. Next season Klopp has a bunch of old and new talent at his disposal and how he chooses to use them remains to be seen.