Roberto Firmino is set to leave Liverpool for Barcelona this summer, but Jurgen Klopp has already found a suitable replacement for the forward position
Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Cody Gakpo can fill the void left by Roberto Firmino, following the news that the Brazilian has agreed to join Barcelona.
Firmino, 31, has been at Liverpool since 2015 but is set to leave when his contract expires in June despite being offered new terms. The Mail first reported that the former Hoffenheim man is set to join the Spanish giants, having scored 109 goals in 360 appearances for Liverpool.
Despite Firmino’s impending departure, Klopp may already have a replacement in mind. Gakpo has impressed since his big-money move from PSV in January. The Dutchman has five Premier League goals in 14 games and started at center-forward in Liverpool’s 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest.
“If you watched international football over the last five, six years as a footballer and you love football, and if you are in a similar role, have a similar job to do in the game and you didn’t pick up anything from Bobby Firmino, that would be a bad decision, to be honest,” Klopp said after the Reds’ win on Saturday.
“Because we play in public, you can see all of the games.” Bobby, in this role, is clearly an inspiration to pretty much every player in a similar position.
“Cody is 23 years old, he was captain of his previous club – I had no idea how that happens that young, and then when he arrived here, you realize, ‘Ah OK, he’s a super-smart kid, really open and a real team player,’ and stuff like that.” On top of that, he’s a fantastic footballer.
Gakpo started in a front line that included Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota on either side as Liverpool won their second Premier League game in a row. That left Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez on the bench, but Klopp has defended his decision to keep Gakpo in the starting lineup.
“That means you have to find your own way,” Klopp continued, “and I think that’s much more important.” That’s what Cody is doing. Since Cody was present, I thought he did exceptionally well.
“We didn’t do well – that’s extremely difficult for a new player.” It’s extremely difficult to join the team, and nothing is clicking. During that time, he performed admirably. And now that we’re doing better, people may notice his performances, which is great.