‘I will truly miss him’ – Pep Lijnders’ touching tribute to Bobby Firmino will have Liverpool fans welling up

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Pep Lijnders has labelled Bobby Firmino as a ‘special player’ and admitted he will ‘truly miss’ the Brazilian when he leaves Liverpool at the end of the season.

The former Hoffenheim man’s current deal expires this summer and it has been confirmed he will not extend his stay on Merseyside.

The 31-year-old is a true Liverpool legend and the Reds’ assistant coach has paid a touching tribute to our No. 9 ahead of his final game at Anfield this weekend against Aston Villa.

“Some players have the capacity to give joy to the people, others have the capacity to give joy and trophies to the people, but only a few give joy, trophies and provide a team with its whole identity,” Lijnders told The Athletic. “There were some other false nines before who did it, but I feel privileged to be able to say that I was there when Bobby did it for one of the most iconic clubs in football.

“They say that the ball can only smile when the player smiles and, wow, how many times Bobby made an entire stadium smile! So many times he was decisive in pressing the opposition like a madman. So many times he created superiority inside so we could dominate the midfield. The oldest football rules are the best ones: dominate the midfield and you will dominate the game. When Bobby played well, we were so unpredictable.

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“Bobby represented our mantra of ‘everyone is responsible for everything’ in the best way possible. He gave colour to our style. The difference between a good team and a top team is the individual quality of the front three. The difference between a top team and one that wins on a regular basis is the fact that the front three put the team above themselves. This is what happened in our successful period with Bobby as the guy who put a constant oil on the fire of pressing. With a striker like Bobby, everything becomes easier.

“He is a special player with an incredible mentality to train hard. That’s why he performed at an unbelievably high level, playing high-intensity football, over such a long time. Some players just need a little bit of guidance and their football intelligence does all the rest. It was and is a joy to stand with him on the training pitch. The smile, the unpredictability, the spontaneity, the street and the big heart. All of this reflects in his game. I will truly miss him.”

Firmino is adored by all Liverpool supporters – something that was clear during Monday night’s defeat of Leicester City at the King Power as the travelling Kopi sang his popular chant for almost 15 minutes straight and then serenaded him after the full-time whistle.

Without the Brazil international we simply wouldn’t have achieved as much success as we have in recent years and his ability to help the entire team click is something that sets him apart from many other players.

He’s mastered the false-nine role during his time at the club and replacing him will not be easy.

Eyebrows may have been raised amongst Reds fans when it was confirmed the versatile forward would be leaving but with him now being the wrong side of 30 and having won every major trophy possible at the club it appears that he’s ready for a new challenge.

It remains unclear where Firmino will be plying his trade next term but we wish him all the best for the future and let’s give him a proper send off at Anfield this weekend!

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