Firmino signs new five-year deal at Anfield
Brazilian forward (26) has become a key player for Liverpool alongside Salah and Mané
Roberto Firmino, who has signed a new long-term contract at Liverpool: “My team-mates are fantastic and I am very grateful to be able to play with them at this club.” Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
The Brazilian forward, who joined from Hoffenheim in 2015, has made 140 appearances in all competitions and scored 50 goals, becoming a key player for the Merseyside club alongside fellow attackers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané.
“The club have taken me in an incredible way and I’ve grown a lot here with my work with the support of the whole team. I am very happy here,” Firmino said. Liverpool did not provide details about the 26-year-old Firmino’s new contract.
“Everything fits in the best possible way. My team-mates are fantastic and I am very grateful to be able to play with them at this club.”
“I love to play for Liverpool. The fans are excellent and fantastic in how they support us all the way. They support us throughout the games and the work they do during the match is beautiful,” Firmino added.
Meanwhile, Trent Alexander-Arnold has said that Liverpool’s Champions League quarter-final win at Manchester City provides the template for exploiting Roma’s need to score three times at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday.
Liverpool take a commanding 5-2 lead into the Champions League semi-final second leg in Italy where Roma must repeat their 3-0 comeback against Barcelona in the previous round to deny the Anfield club an eighth European Cup final appearance.
The tie also carries similarities with the quarter-final for Jürgen Klopp’s team, who held a three-goal advantage going into the second leg at City and emerged as 2-1 victors at the Etihad Stadium after a fraught first half. That experience, Alexander-Arnold believes, should be ideal preparation for the challenge that awaits in Rome.
“We are looking to go there to win and get to the final,” said the 19-year-old right back, who was deployed in midfield for the Premier League draw with Stoke City on Saturday. “We know they are going to have to come and score goals. They need to score goals to get through, the same as City. We passed the City test and hopefully we pass the test on Wednesday.
“There is pace in the side and when the opposition gamble we can play behind them. The front three especially will make the runs and we will look to find them. We are going there with a job to do. We know it is going to be an intimidating atmosphere and that is what they will look to do, just as our fans did to them. We have to be prepared mentally and physically.”
Alexander-Arnold was one of three Liverpool players to sustain a slight injury in the Stoke stalemate but he insisted his dead leg would be “okay” by Wednesday. Jordan Henderson, the captain, and the defender Joe Gomez also required treatment for ankle injuries. The teenager will make his 11th Champions League appearance if selected for the semi-final, including qualifiers, and has been alerted to the importance of that statistic since the Anfield defeat of Eusebio Di -Francesco’s side.
“I have had loads of messages from my mates saying that I’ve now played more Champions League games than Everton,” the boyhood Liverpool fan said. “That was quite funny, I enjoyed seeing that. I’ve equalled it and hopefully I will play on Wednesday. I guess it will be a good one to say if I am picked. You train all your life – for years – for these types of games and these chances. Everything I have done so far is to prepare me for a game like Wednesday.”
Having scored five against Roma last Tuesday, Liverpool were frustrated by Paul Lambert’s relegation-threatened team four days later. Mohamed Salah missed a glorious early chance for his 44th goal of the season and Klopp’s team were denied a late penalty when Erik Pieters handled inside his area, leaving Liverpool needing three points from their remaining two league games to secure a top four finish.
Lambert, whose team remain three points behind 17th-placed Swansea with only two matches to play, won the Champions League as a Borussia Dortmund player in 1997. He was scathing of Roma’s performance at Anfield and believes Liverpool will kill the semi-final with a goal at Stadio Olimpico.
The Stoke manager said: “I’ve got to say Roma, for a team in the semi-final of the Champions League, were dreadful. Five goals in a semi-final at that level, to be cut open the way they were, was incredible. They’ve got hope because of the two late goals. I played in the best team in Europe in my own time and I know what it takes to win that competition. For me, Roma were never at the races and Liverpool did fantastically well. Listen, it is easy to pull three goals back when you are at home and the adrenalin is pumping. But can Liverpool score over there? Yes. And if they score the tie is finished, it’s as simple as that.”
Pieters was instrumental in stopping Salah scoring for the first time in eight league matches at Anfield but Lambert does not expect Roma to copy Stoke’s rearguard approach. “Maybe Roma will look at the video of this game but I don’t think so,” he said. “I think Roma will hang on to the fact that they kept out Messi and Suárez in the quarter-final and think: ‘If we’ve done it before we can do it again.’ The crowd will be behind them and they’ll throw everything at Liverpool, but if Liverpool can defend strongly they have the speed on the counterattack to score. And if they score the tie is finished.”