Roberto Firmino is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season along with James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Mohamed Salah has paid tribute to his teammates
Mohamed Salah has stated he hopes “our paths will cross again” in a touching tribute to his departing Liverpool teammates including long-time strike partner Roberto Firmino.
Brazilian forward Firmino is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season after eight years at the club. His exit signals that of another of the Reds’ heralded front three which has helped bring them so much success in recent years, following the sale of Sadio Mane last summer, leaving Salah as the last man standing.
In addition to Firmino, vice-captain James Milner is also moving on to pastures new, along with fellow midfielders Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. All four players were celebrated after Liverpool’s final home game of the season on Saturday in what felt like the real end of an era, with Salah now paying his own personal tribute on social media.
Sharing a picture of himself with each of the four players departing, Salah tweeted: “One of the best things about football is that we get to meet and share moments with great people. Bobby, Milly, Ox, and Naby, will be missed and I hope our paths will cross again.”
All four players are out of contract this summer but their futures are yet to be confirmed. While Salah only signed a bumper new contract last summer, Firmino’s has been left to run till expiry with the 31-year-old conceding ahead of Saturday’s draw with Aston Villa: “It is time, unfortunately. The cycle here has ended and I understand it is time to go.
“I am very proud of everything that I have done here with the team, what we achieved together and the beautiful history we made together. I am very proud. Maybe one day I could come back, I don’t know, but it’s time to go.”
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Firmino has been linked with a move to Barcelona while there is also rumoured interest from MLS and his native Brazil. As part of his goodbyes he hosted a party at Anfield on Sunday night for teammates and staff to show his thanks and gifted every attendee a box containing a signed shirt.
Boss Jurgen Klopp heaped praise on Firmino during his speech at the event, telling his No.9: “You are so football smart, in training sessions you are the first to get [understand] the exercise. It’s like you saw it once: ‘Ah, okay, go for it’. It’s really special and it makes you the player you are, with all the technical stuff, but your football brain is incredible. That’s all good and makes you the player you are.”
While record-breaker Salah is regarded as the superstar of the front three, Klopp has previously summed up Firmino’s importance to Liverpool by declaring the Brazilian plays “12 instruments in our orchestra”. The Liverpool boss also proposed previously: “Mo Salah, world class, but not every day. Sadio Mane, world class, but not every day. Roberto Firmino, world class, pretty much every day.”