Roberto Firmino extension good for him and Liverpool - Jurgen Klopp
Signing Roberto Firmino to a new deal would be "very important" for both the player and the club, reckons Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
Firmino has been a revelation this season, scoring a career-high 22 goals in all competitions while becoming one of the top centre-forwards in the Premier League.
The Brazil international is in Tite's Selecao plans for this summer's World Cup in Russia. And despite having two years remaining on his current Anfield deal, Klopp highlighted the importance of an even longer stay for the former Hoffenheim man on Merseyside as well.
Klopp told UK papers: "It is very important for both sides. I think everything we are doing, the way we play, the way we give him the opportunity constantly to play -- he deserves that.
"He deserves that because his work-rate is outstanding but it helped him a lot to step up. He became a different player here. Other teams can say, 'Hmmm, he's really good,' but it is not sure they will play the same way and use him as a nine or a 10 or they'll use him out on the wings.
"It is important to keep these players who are at a good age and when there is still space for improvement. There is no doubt we want to do that. You can imagine we try to do that. But they all have contracts. It's not that their contracts are ending in the summer."
The Reds have recovered well from Philippe Coutinho's club-record move to Barcelona in January. They have lost only once in Premier League play since October and are almost assured of a place in the Champions League quarterfinals after an impressive 5-0 round-of-16 first-leg drubbing of Porto in Portugal.
Despite Coutinho's departure, Klopp said the goal is to keep his core players -- the likes of Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane -- at the club for the long term.
"We try to keep this together and strengthen it. It is not like we bring out key players and say: 'Try to find your luck elsewhere,'" Klopp added.
"They all have absolute contracts so it is not that we have a big rush and we have to do it tomorrow but we are in constant talks. Our job is to create something that everyone wants to be part of. There are a lot of good football clubs around -- not 20 better clubs than Liverpool but a few not-too-bad ones and if they ask and if they pay then the player maybe thinks it can happen.
"We cannot convince them with money, we have to convince them with the football we play, the way we treat them and how we handle problems together. I think it is a really interesting football project at the moment. I've felt like this since I was in.
"It is quite difficult when you see Man City playing yesterday and they deserve to be first, it is not too bad what they are doing and that means if you only can be really happy if you have one point more than Man City that would be difficult for all other teams in the world at this moment so why should we be bothered by that?
"If we use our situation we can come close and when you can come closer you can overtake -- not only a car but a football club."
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