Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has ruled out a potential sale of Roberto Firmino this summer despite reports in Italy claiming that he is close to a Juventus switch.
Brazilian Firmino is out of contract next summer, and injuries saw him in and out of the side last campaign, playing just 985 minutes of Premier League action across 20 appearances for the Merseyside outfit,
Now 30 years old, and with the arrival of Fabio Carvalho, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez in the past 8 months, there was doubt thrown on his future in the Liverpool side.
Italian outlet Corriere Dello Sport even went as far as to claim that Juventus were closing in on a £19m move for the Samba star this summer, with the clubs in advanced negotiations.
However, ahead of the Community Shield showdown with Manchester City, Klopp has moved to quell this doubt, reasserting the importance of the Brazilian to his Liverpool side.
“Bobby is crucial for us, the heart and soul of this team”, the Liverpool boss explained.
“Everything looks really good and I am absolutely fine with Firmino. For me, no doubt about his quality, so yes, he is essential for us”, the German added.
Firmino to see more gametime?
Liverpool have already seen three forwards depart this summer, with Sadio Mane the main name out of the door but Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi both also leaving the club to join Monaco and AC Milan respectively.
And, with Darwin Nunez likely to take some time to settle into his new surroundings and Diogo Jota currently out injured, Firmino could find himself playing a much larger role in the Liverpool side than he did last season, should he be able to stay fit.
Alternatives include young duo Harvey Elliot and Fabio Carvalho, but with Liverpool looking to compete on four fronts next campaign it feels as though the Brazilian’s experience could be vital, especially early on.