When Jürgen Klopp took over as coach of Liverpool FC in October 2015, the traditional club from Mersey was a tumbling giant. Tenth place in the league, on the international stage, the reality was the Europa League instead of the Champions League, the opponents in the knockout round were not Real Madrid or Bayern Munich, the trip then went to Augsburg.
Almost seven years later, the world of the reds looks completely different. Klopp enjoys legendary status in the English port city, won the championship for the first time in 30 years (2020), won the Champions League trophy (2019), the FA Cup (2022) and the Club World Cup (2020). In the current season, there was a chance for a historic quadrupling of the League Cup, FA Cup, Champions League and championship until last weekend.
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Klopp was mainly responsible for his team returning to the world elite and giving a number of players the leap into Olympus. In particular, three players have become absolute top stars among Stuttgart natives: Roberto Firmino (since summer 2015 in Liverpool), Sadio Mané (since summer 2016 in Liverpool) and Mohamed Salah (since summer 2017 in Liverpool).
In the past, the three attacking men have played a significant role in ensuring that the LFC is now once again one of the heavyweights in Europe. Firmino has 326 games (98 goals, 74 assists), Mané scored 120 goals and contributed 48 assists in 268 competitive games, Salah even has 156 goals and 63 assists in 253 appearances. What all three have in common besides their accuracy: They all still have a contract until 2023, all three are currently linked with a departure from Liverpool.
Is the three forks in danger of falling apart, ending an era after the final in the best class? According to consistent media reports, the likelihood of the trio being held as a whole is extremely low.
The Reds transferred 41 million euros to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim for Firmino seven years ago. A sum that, in hindsight, definitely paid off. The Brazilian was one of the most influential figures under Klopp. This season, however, the 30-year-old has struggled with injuries and has repeatedly found himself behind Diogo Jota or Luis Díaz, who arrived from Porto in the winter for € 47m.
As the Reds recently announced the switch of 19-year-old Fabio Carvalho this summer, Firmino’s air is likely to become even closer in the future. Therefore, there is currently speculation about its future. Rumors of potential buyers are rare, only in January did the Catalan newspaper “El Nacional” link the striker with a possible switch to FC Barcelona.
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The Blaugrana are said to have been willing to pay € 20m for Firmino. Since then, however, there has been silence about a possible departure to Spain. Meanwhile, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher is confident Firmino will fulfill his contract. Mainly because there are apparently almost no interested parties.
“I think he will stay and leave us on a free transfer next year,” Carragher said on the Liverpool Echo podcast Blood Red. He added: “I do not think there are that many people who are interested in paying an appropriate fee. We have had him here for so long and he has paid his price back ten times.”
So Firmino could enter his eighth year at Liverpool. However, there are many indications that he will no longer be one of the undisputed protagonists.
Unlike Firmino, Mané is also one of the best players this season, scoring 23 goals in 50 games in all competitions. He scored two particularly important goals in the Champions League semi-final against Villarreal (2-0, 3-2).
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Mané has been traded in a number of top clubs for months. In addition to Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, FC Bayern have recently emerged as a potential buyer. As “Sky” and “Sportbild” report, the path to Munich is quite hot.
The 30-year-old could therefore well imagine moving to the Bavarian capital, according to “Sky” he had sent positive signals to the people of Munich. Bayern are said to want to shell out around 30 million euros for Mané’s services, but Liverpool would only be willing to talk if they were offered 50 million euros.
One thing is clear: Liverpool have spent a lot of money on new players in recent years. The cash injection that lures from a Mané sale would definitely help the club. Those in charge have recently set themselves up for the future, even though Torgarant should leave, the Reds are prepared.
While Mané left his future open, Salah recently provided clarity. At least as far as his short-term plans are concerned. “I’m not concentrating on my contract, I do not want to be selfish,” the Egyptian said before making it clear: “I will stay in Liverpool next season, that’s for sure.”
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At first glance a positive signal to all Liverpool fans. The superstar will stay at the club for another year. The problem: Salah could travel for free this summer next year. Because an extension of his working paper beyond 2023 is not currently in sight.
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