Brendan Rodgers on Liverpool win
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Roberto Firmino’s bit-part role at Anfield this season will be of great annoyance to the man who has been an integral part of Liverpool’s success over the last few years. And having turned 30 not so long ago, the former Hoffenheim star could angle for a move to join Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa, says Tony Cascarino.
The Brazilian was instrumental in Liverpool’s dominating 2018-19 season, where they won the Champions League and finished just one point off the Premier League.
Indeed, he only missed two games in the two seasons following that, scoring just 18 in the 74 games he played.
And that prompted Liverpool to make a move for Diogo Jota, who has started life on Merseyside superbly.
Jota seems to be Jurgen Klopp’s preferred option, reducing Firmino to just four starts all season, while the Brazilian has only managed four goals, three of which came in one outing against Watford in October.
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And with the links to many transfers surfacing in the build-up to the January transfer window, talkSPORT pundit Cascarino has backed Firmino to make a shock move to Villa.
“It’s only my gut feeling – I think they [Aston Villa] will go for one big Liverpool player, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Firmino left and went to Villa,” Cascarino said.
“Managers love going back to clubs they’ve worked with and Danny Ings has not worked for Villa, in my opinion. I’m surprised because I really like Danny, I think he’s a terrific player, but I don’t feel he’s worked out.
“Ollie Watkins needs a Firmino-type player to get the best out of him, and I think Gerrard is going to look for that type of player. When Gerrard is talking about exciting the Villa fans, they’re going big.
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“I know people will be saying, ‘hang on, Klopp and Liverpool would never let him go’, but Firmino has been a sub way too often. [Diogo] Jota has taken his place at Liverpool and he might know there’s a possibility of getting someone.”
Gerrard’s record signing throughout his career was the £6.5million signing of Ryan Kent to Rangers from Liverpool in 2019, meaning he has already dealt with the Reds for a relatively major transfer at this early stage in his career.
Firmino would be a superb addition to Villa’s side, and Gerrard is likely to try for players of his calibre should funds be made available.
And with relations already at a good level with his old side, it is easy to see why links to Villa Park have formed.
Discussing the possibility of making additions this month, Gerrard said recently: “The important thing is we’ll only make signings if we feel they’re the right ones for the team and for the club to move us forward and to improve us.
“We won’t make them for the sake of it just to add volume. We are looking and assessing certain players for certain positions in the squad.
“Myself, Christian Purslow [chief executive] and Johan Lange [sporting director] have spoken every day in the past week, more so because I’ve had a lot of free time because of COVID.
“We’ve had some good, positive meetings and we have identified certain individuals we’d like to bring in. If we can make that happen in this window, great. If not, it might be a case of being patient and waiting until the summer.”
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