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Liverpool set to lose duo matching Lionel Messi as double exit could influence transfer need



Liverpool will lose Lionel Messi’s pairing as a double outing could affect transfer needs

Roberto Firmino and James Milner have a Champions League record few players can match that Lionel Messi cannot match, and with the pair moving forward, Liverpool need a plan.

Liverpool’s 2022-23 Champions League campaign serves as a handy microcosm of the entire season. There was a huge win in which they scored seven goals, a last minute winner at Anfield and a desperately poor performance away from home.

The last of that trio was the 4-1 defeat against Napoli, although some argue the 1-0 defeat against Real Madrid wasn’t much better, as the Reds needed three goals but rarely they seemed to score once. With their entry into next season’s competition in serious doubt, the match at the Santiago Bernabéu could be the last curtain call on the remarkable half-decade Liverpool have enjoyed in Europe. For the sake of argument, let’s assume the Reds finish below fourth place in May. Players like Joël Matip and Jordan Henderson, who were part of Jürgen Klopp’s squad at the start of their Champions League odyssey, may never again represent Liverpool at the top of European football. The same probably goes for James Milner, and certainly goes for Roberto Firmino, as he will be leaving the club in the summer anyway.

The Reds number nine was arguably Klopp’s last player, with more appearances than anyone in the German’s 22-year managerial career. Firmino also scored Liverpool’s Klopp’s first goal in the Champions League proper, in a 2-2 draw against Sevilla. No one is more associated with the last six seasons of European football and the Reds.

Firmino won European glory against Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, scored twice in the semi-finals and opened the scoring in a knockout tie against Inter Milan last season. But as fantastic as those times are, Liverpool have no shortage of goalscorers at the moment, having signed three exciting forwards in the past 18 months. The Reds should now have more problems with Champions League assists.

Data from the tweet above shows that in the world’s biggest club competition, Firmino sits 17th overall in assists per game in the 21st century, tied with Lionel Messi. As with his goals, the Brazilian scored some excellent and vital Champions League goals for Liverpool. His debut for Emre Can against Hoffenheim at Anfield was part of such a good move that Klopp shouted ‘THIS IS FOOTBALL’ from the main stand.

Milner sits just 0.01 behind the famous South American duo in the assist frequency charts, although his tally includes his time at Manchester City. Although he and Firmino are no longer first-choice regulars for Liverpool, their presence in the table makes the Reds one of only four clubs to have two players in the top 20. Next time they play in the League of champions, chances are they don’t have one. And while it’s true to say that Firmino and Milner aren’t the first names in Klopp’s starting XI these days, the latter started in Madrid on Wednesday night while the former was among the first substitutions. They are still key men in the team, if not the team on a regular basis.

So where will the Reds’ assists come from in the future? Cody Gakpo’s Champions League experience, barring eight minutes at PSV Eindhoven as a teenager, fully entered into the Real Madrid clash. Darwin Núñez is yet to score a goal in the competition, while Luis Díaz has only done so once – as many as Jude Bellingham, by the way. Of course, that doesn’t mean they can’t score at elite club level, but there’s rarely a good substitute for experience.


Mohamed Salah agent speaks out over Liverpool exit rumours

Mohamed Salah has been linked to Foot Mercato’s move to Spain and agent Ramy Abbas Issa has been outspoken about him

Mohamed Salah’s agent has released rumors that the striker wants to leave Liverpool.

Salah has a contract with the Reds until the summer of 2025, having been signed on new terms last summer. That deal ended speculation about the Egyptian’s future with rumors that he could leave Anfield.

A report on Saturday from Foot Mercato said Salah was “increasingly considering” leaving Liverpool. It has also been suggested that Salah would be in favor of a move to Spain, but he did not specify which club. The story was posted on Twitter by author Santi Aouna, prompting a response from Salah’s representative. Ramy Abbas Issa, Salah’s agent, issued a brief response to the report.

He wrote: “Where did you get this if even Mohamed and I didn’t talk about it? Please tell us.”

Since signing a new contract, Salah has scored 22 goals in all competitions this season. His brace against Manchester United earlier this month broke Robbie Fowler’s record to become Liverpool’s top scorer in Premier League history.