Roberto Firmino’s debut for Liverpool in August 2015 saw him replace Jordon Ibe as a second-half substitute and join Christian Benteke in attack during an entirely unconvincing 1-0 victory away at Stoke City. Said campaign would end with the Reds stumbling their way to an eighth-place finish.
How times change, with the last few years seeing Jurgen Klopp’s side make a habit of collecting major honours while mounting sustained challenges for those that fall tantalisingly out of reach. For the most part, a hard-working Brazilian forward has figured prominently in those plans.
With the likes of Ibe and Benteke upgraded to Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, Firmino has become a Champions League and Premier League title winner. More of the same is expected in 2022-23, with betting on football very much siding with a Liverpool team that are 12/5 to restore domestic dominance next season.
The Kostas and Bobby training link-up you didn't know you needed pic.twitter.com/yTvzWCSEjV— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 20, 2022
It appears as though a South American frontman will once again form part of Klopp’s quest to deliver silver linings at Anfield, with a veteran of seven gruelling campaigns on Merseyside readying himself for an eighth.
Questions have been asked, on a regular basis at times, of whether that would be the case, with there no escaping the fact that Firmino has only a year left to run on his current contract. While occupying the same boat as Mane and Salah when it comes to personal terms, a similar level of rumour and speculation has been avoided.
Firmino has said of his intentions for the immediate future: “My wish is to stay here. I want to be here. I’m happy here. So that’s all I can say, I want to stay.” Said wish appears set to be granted, with nobody about to start nudging him towards the exits.
Given all that he has achieved following a move from Hoffenheim that raised plenty of eyebrows, the right has been earned to dictate what happens with him next. If everybody is happy to prolong a seven-year association, then why not continue and strengthen that bond?
Yes, a window of opportunity in which to generate a fee from any transfer is slowly swinging shut, but funds have already been invested in ensuring that suitable successors to a fabled front three are ready to step into any voids.
Roberto Firmino found a celebration and he's sticking to it pic.twitter.com/fE7TWzJlsY— GOAL (@goal) April 13, 2022
Decisions could be taken out of Firmino’s hands, and he may experience a change of heart if game time proves to be in short supply over the first half of the upcoming campaign, but those remain issues to be addressed at another time.
For now, a long farewell should be enjoyed by all concerned. Remember the good times, hope for a few more, and agree that a parting of ways will happen – whenever that day comes – on the best of terms.
Only two more efforts are required by Firmino in order to reach 100 in the famous red of Liverpool and it would be fitting if he were allowed to reach that mark before any farewells are bid. After all, ‘Si senor, give the ball to Bobby and he will score’.