Liverpool entered the 2022/23 season on the back of a stellar campaign in which they lifted both domestic cups and challenged for a quadruple until the very last second. Jurgen Klopp’s side were unsurprisingly runaway Premier League title favourites alongside Manchester City this term, but the wheels have well and truly fallen off in the opening two months.
Klopp’s men have formed a sorry shadow of the confident, clinical, high-energy outfit he has built throughout his tenure at Anfield. Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah are just three from a selection of headline stars unable to replicate their world-class form of old in recent times.
Darwin Nunez’s £80million arrival from Benfica only strengthened the belief that the Reds would be firing on all fronts again. However, they are slumped in 10th after eight league games and suffered a rare thrashing in Europe vs Napoli to kick off their since-salvaged Champions League campaign.
Amid the turmoil, though, there has been a shining light that many once presumed had died out – Roberto Firmino. While Nunez posed as Klopp’s best piece of business in the summer transfer window, his reported refusal to allow Firmino to leave for Juventus could better it.
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The 31-year-old has been an integral figure under Klopp and was one-third of Liverpool’s iconic front three alongside Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah – which disbanded this summer after Mane joined Bayern Munich. But in recent years, the captures of younger forwards Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Nunez have seemed like preparation for life after Firmino.
Nunez’s switch sparked heavy speculation surrounding the Brazilian’s future, and, according to TuttoJuve, Juventus submitted a £19.5m offer, which fell short of Klopp’s valuation. And the decision to keep Firmino within his ranks has ultimately spared Liverpool further blushes at the start of the season.
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Firmino is the Reds’ top goalscorer in all competitions, netting six times, all in the Premier League, and registering three more assists. His goals tally is already higher than last term’s league campaign, with only Erling Haaland and Harry Jane netting more.
Salah, Jota, Diaz and Nunez all started Sunday’s defeat against Arsenal, but Firmino came off the bench once again to eclipse most of their displays. With Diaz now set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines through injury, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Klopp hand his number nine more chances to make an impact ahead of the World Cup break.
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