Roberto Firmino will bid farewell to Liverpool this summer having made history across eight magical seasons with the Reds.
The much-loved Brazilian is set to leave the club upon the expiry of his contract, having enjoyed a thrilling spell at Anfield filled with goals, medals, dazzling smiles, unforgettable celebrations and thousands of miles run.
As hard-working as he is talented, Firmino departs with 111 strikes in total – one of only 19 men to surpass a century for Liverpool – and six major honours, including Champions League glory and the Premier League title, as well as one of the greatest fan songs ever.
“There’s no reference point when it comes to comparing Bobby. There’s never been anyone quite like him and I doubt there ever will be again,” said Jordan Henderson in a fitting recent tribute.
“To be that talented, have that much skill and then to work as hard and smart as he does, is remarkable. Humility in professional football is just as important as humility in life. The way Bobby plays, the selflessness of it, is what makes him so, so special.
“To have that much magic and ability and still sacrifice yourself for your team… honestly, for any young player wanting to be a forward, he is the benchmark. He’s not afraid to express himself and do all the tricks but at the same time makes sure he earns that right by doing the non-spectacular things also.
“His status as an all-time Liverpool great is secured.”
The Reds swooped to sign Firmino in the summer of 2015 from Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, where the attacker had honed his talents after moving to Europe from his home country four-and-a-half years earlier.
Initially wearing the No.11 jersey, his early time on Merseyside saw Jürgen Klopp take over the managerial reins and upon settling into the central forward role within the new boss’ set-up, Firmino would flourish and flourish and flourish.
Blending invention, skill and seemingly endless supplies of energy, he netted 11 times during his debut season, which saw Liverpool reach the finals of both the League Cup and Europa League, with the attacker personally and the team collectively showing glimpses of the soaring progress to come.
By now universally known as ‘Bobby’ and a fan favourite, he started 34 Premier League games in his second campaign as the Reds achieved a top-four finish and a return to the Champions League, with Firmino providing crucial run-in goals away at Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion.
Once saluted by Klopp as the team’s ‘heart and soul’, the best was still to come.
The 2017-18 season saw the dawn of one of the greatest attacking combinations in Reds history, as Mohamed Salah arrived to join forces with Firmino and Sadio Mane in a trio that would help to catapult the club to the summit of the game.
Now wearing No.9 in addition to playing as one, it would be Firmino’s most prolific single term at Liverpool, too, as he plundered 27 goals, including 11 in Europe during the run to Champions League final heartbreak against Real Madrid, and chipped in with 16 assists too.
Back came he and his teammates in 2018-19, and the Brazilian produced another 16 goals as Klopp’s men narrowly missed out on the league title with 97 points but secured European Cup redemption by lifting Old Big Ears in Madrid.
With Firmino almost ever-present and always ever-industrious, success flowed further in the form of the UEFA Super Cup and then the Reds’ maiden FIFA Club World Cup triumph, with the forward dispatching the winner in both the semi-final and final to make history in Qatar.
His legacy was further cemented by a key role within the first Liverpool team to win the league title for 30 years, Firmino appearing in all 38 games and delivering decisive strikes at Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers – among others – en route to a club-record 99 points.
As the likes of Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez bolstered Klopp’s attacking ranks in recent seasons, the No.9’s importance to the squad was undiminished and he featured more than 100 times in the last three seasons.
A brace in the 9-0 rout of AFC Bournemouth last August lifted Firmino into the elite club of goalscoring centurions for Liverpool, alongside his attacking accomplices Mane and Salah.
In March, he signalled his intent to depart for a fresh challenge elsewhere, and days later he struck in front of a delighted Kop to wrap up an unforgettable 7-0 victory over Manchester United.
Though an untimely muscle injury ruled him out of six games during his final months with the Reds, early notice of his forthcoming farewell allowed Kopites to show their appreciation to him with repeated renditions of his ‘Si Senor’ anthem.
Not least at his emotional Anfield goodbye in May, before which he had stated: “It will be difficult, particularly saying goodbye to people I live with every day.
“And the fans, I’ll always miss them dearly. They sang my name and got behind me during all these years together. I thank God for the affection they have for me, from the bottom of my heart.”
The feeling is undoubtedly mutual.
Bobby Firmino, best in the world.
Everybody at Liverpool FC thanks Roberto for his contributions to the club across his eight years here and wishes him the very best for the future.