‘Bobby, my God, I love the guy’: Jurgen Klopp hails departure of Roberto Firmino and James Milner for being part of ‘all good things’ during his reign as Liverpool boss… and pays tribute to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keïta
- Klopp pays tribute to ‘legends’ Milner, Firmino, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita
- The quartet will leave Liverpool when their contract expires next month
- The Liverpool manager insisted the four made important contributions
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has paid tribute to the outgoing quartet of James Milner, Roberto Firmino, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita.
All four will leave when their contracts expire next month and are guaranteed an emotional start at Anfield against Aston Villa.
All leave as Champions League and Premier League winners and while Firmino and Milner, who arrived in the summer of 2015 a few months before Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers, played a bigger role, the manager insisted that all four had made significant contributions.
“We already talked about it with the boys earlier this week,” Klopp said.
“It’s super important to us and a bit super emotional too for different reasons because we’re saying goodbye, from my perspective, to four Liverpool legends.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed Roberto Firmino’s important contribution
James Milner, 37, will also leave the club when his contract expires this summer
“Two of them were here when I arrived – Millie (Milner) and Bobby (Firmino) – and none of the good things that have happened in recent years would have happened without them.
‘Bobby, my God, how I love this guy. It’s 100% deserved.
“Millie has played an incredible amount of games, I think I’m the manager he’s played the most games for in his career, and probably the same for Bobby.
‘My English is not good enough to really express my respect for them but the same goes for Ox (Oxlade-Chamberlain) and Naby, for different reasons.
“Ox was unlucky in times with serious injuries at the wrong time. I remember the (2018 Champions League game) against Roma when he got badly injured and I had no idea how to deal with that situation because he was so good and practically irreplaceable at that time.
“Everyone knows we spent a lot of money on Naby and there were a lot of expectations and because of injuries in bad times he couldn’t fulfill them all, but go back and watch the football he could play in his good times.’
Milner has been strongly linked with a move to Brighton but the future of the other three is less clear, although they are not short of offers.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been plagued by injuries after being ‘almost irreplaceable’
Klopp added: “I wish them all the best of luck and hope they find a place where they are as respected and needed as they are here and get their chance back because they’ve had a lot of those in recent years.”
“All four have won just about every trophy available and we love them, but this is professional football and nothing is forever.
“There is always a moment and it is a good moment because it means that a chapter will be closed and we can start writing a new one, which is good for them as well as for us.
“I will be forever grateful to them because without them nothing would have happened. They were super important in everything they did and this is the farewell they deserve.