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  • Posted by Rayo Online
  • Date : 22 May 2023
  • Time : 11:59AM

When the travelling Kop spends 15 minutes serenading a player who is sitting in the stands injured while Liverpool are 2-0 up, you know it is for someone special.

Roberto Firmino will wave farewell to fans at Anfield on Saturday and it will signal the end of an era for a player who has been so important to Liverpool's success under Jurgen Klopp.

The Brazilian departs at the end of the season after eight memorable years at Liverpool and he was given a tribute at the King Power in their 3-0 win over Leicester on Monday night.

"He made football fun again," Liverpool fan Ross Chandley told BBC Sport.

"When you're young and you fantasise about being a footballer, you fantasise about being like Bobby. He has flair and the hard graft. In football you usually get one or the other."

Ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville told Sky Sports that "Firmino was sensational for years", while Liverpool team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold once called him "priceless".

Firmino might have sat out his final weeks with a muscle injury, but he has left a lasting impression and it will be celebrated against Aston Villa this weekend.

  'He's a player so many kids want to be'
"He's a cult hero," former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy told BBC Sport.

During his time at the club, Firmino has helped Liverpool reach four European finals in seven years, winning one of them, while playing a key role in securing their first league title in 30 years.

He also won the domestic cup double last season to add to the Club World Cup they won in 2019.

"You wouldn't quite put him up there with Kenny Dalglish or Ian Rush, but he has been a big part of a wonderfully successful time at Liverpool," added Murphy.

"There are not many players who have played for Liverpool and done  what he has. He's a unique footballer in a jigsaw puzzle Jurgen Klopp put together.

"He's known for his humility. He's loved by a lot of Liverpool people and will be for a long, long time.

"He is one of those players that so many young players and kids want to be. That's the biggest compliment you can get."

Murphy said it would be "almost impossible to find someone exactly the same" as Firmino and The Anfield Wrap's John Gibbons believes it is because he "sums up" a Klopp team perfectly."He's done the whole journey with Klopp. Firmino was the frontman in every sense. He was the leader of the press," Gibbons told BBC Sport.

"He was a nightmare for defenders and people found it so hard to get out because of the work he was doing in that front three. He was vital but he also scored a lot of goals for us - some great ones.

"He has been an incredible player for this football club. We have been very, very lucky to have him."

'He just loves the game'
Firmino is seen as the "cheeky" one in the group, always smiling, always enjoying himself and always producing wacky celebrations - including his trademark karate kick and pretend patch over the eye.

"Football at its best is when you feel like a kid and there was nobody who made you feel that more so than Bobby. If I was a 10-year-old kid I'd have his posters on my wall," said Gibbons.

"It's the no-look goals and the celebrations which change all the time. He was making fun of himself when he got an eye injury at one point.

"He just loves the game, loves scoring, playing football and winning. He had the best song as well and I can't believe we won't be able to sing that at him in the Kop any more. I will miss that.

How does he compare to Liverpool's greatest goalscorers?
Firmino finishes his Liverpool career as the club's 17th highest goalscorer.

He has notched up 71 assists on top of his 109 goals in 360 appearances for the club.Only Steven Gerrard, Steve McManaman and Mohamed Salah have assisted more goals for Liverpool in the Premier League era.

Twenty-seven of Firmino's goals have come against top-six sides in the Premier League, while 22 have been scored in the Champions League.

"I've seen lots of great players and teams but he's in our top 20 goalscorers of all time and we've had some incredible goalscorers," said Gibbons.

"He gave us assists and work-rate too, so could have scored many more, but he was a team player first. He could not have done better for Liverpool as a signing from Hoffenheim."

Firmino's career has often been entwined with Salah's and Sadio Mane's and the trio formed one of the most feared attacking line-ups in Europe.

They scored 60% of Liverpool's Premier League goals during their 44-game unbeaten run between 2019 and 2020.

They became the most prolific front three in a Champions League season in 2018, combining for 29 goals, surpassing the 28 by Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.

"Out of the three, Firmino was probably the least productive in terms of goals, but I don't think he's ever been under-rated," said Murphy.

"When you talk about that famous Liverpool front three, people see them as a collective for what they all did in those seasons they had together.

"It's very unusual to get a trio who had the durability that Firmino, Mane and Salah had for so long."

What were his most memorable moments?
Firmino has had plenty of memorable moments.

His extra-time winner over Brazilian champions Flamengo handed Liverpool their first Club World Cup trophy in 2019.

He scored the final goal as Liverpool beat rivals Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2018 en route to the final.

He scored in both 7-0 wins over Maribor and Spartak Moscow in the Champions League, as well as a crucial goal in a 2-0 win over Manchester United in the Europa League in 2016.

A memorable Premier League hat-trick against Arsenal in 2018 was followed by a double at Old Trafford in 2021 and another hat-trick at Vicarage Road later that year.

He may soon be gone, but Firmino will never be forgotten at Anfield and the next instalment of his career will be watched with interest.