Klopp previews Liverpool's Premier League clash with Man Utd
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Liverpool’s famous number nine shirt will become vacant this summer when Roberto Firmino leaves as a free agent. The 31-year-old striker is set to depart Anfield once his contract expires in July, ending a decorated eight-year spell on Merseyside.
His departure begs the question: who will inherit the shirt represented by Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler, Fernando Torres and other Anfield icons throughout the club’s history?
Express Sport explores four options to succeed Firmino as Liverpool’s number nine next season, from Jurgen Klopp’s current squad to potential imports.
Diogo Jota has never worn the number nine throughout his club career but donned it while representing Portugal in the 2018/19 season.
He primarily plays down the middle for Klopp when he’s fit and has often been preferred to Firmino since his arrival from Wolves.
If he is to be Liverpool’s first-choice striker now he has returned to fitness, it would make sense to swap 20 for nine.
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Darwin Nunez has shone on the left in his first season at Anfield but can also feature down the middle.
Given the club splashed a record £85million to recruit him last summer, it is clear Klopp views him as the future of his attack.
Nunez wore the number nine at Benfica before joining Liverpool and surely wouldn’t say no if handed the chance to inherit it once Firmino departs.
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Like Jota, Cody Gakpo has worn the number nine for his national team but never at club level.
The Dutchman has predominantly played as a striker since joining Liverpool in January and is certain to be in Klopp’s long-term plans.
However, he is the least likely to take Firmino’s shirt, given he has only just arrived through the door.
Rather than just stating the only three Liverpool forwards that could realistically take the number nine shirt, why not delve into the transfer market?
Marcus Thuram will become one of Europe’s most enticing free agents this summer. With Liverpool expected to aim their budget elsewhere, a move for the French 25-year-old makes sense.
The 6ft 3 forward has a deceiving turn of past and would offer something different as the centre point of Klopp’s front three.
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