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Jürgen Klopp on Departing Stars and “Looking Forward to a New Season”

No players have made more appearances for Liverpool under Klopp than Roberto Firmino and James Milner, both now set to depart the club.

Liverpool FC v Aston Villa - Premier League Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Saturday marked the final game at Anfield for Liverpool before the end of the 2022-23 season, and while the current campaign has generally been one to forget for the Reds, this is a group whose core has won every major trophy on offer.

For some of them, it will have been the final home game at Anfield. The final game as Liverpool players. Including for Roberto Firmino and James Milner, two players who have made more appearances for Jürgen Klopp with the Reds than any other.

“The two boys who came on obviously showed today immediately what we will miss,” the Liverpool manager said of the departing duo, both of whom made second half substitute appearances in Saturday afternoon’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

“It’s Millie’s mentality—I don’t want to underestimate his football because he played really good football—but the way he comes in, oh my God, whoever will do that for us in the next years that is a high bar because how many games he won for us in this way.

“Then Bobby comes on, plays top football, is between the lines and scores a fantastic goal. Wonderful story, well deserved the story. This day was not an easy day for us—no excuse for anything, it just was not easy because we all love these four boys.”

In addition to Firmino and Milner, Liverpool have already confirmed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keïta will also depart in the summer. Other players will join them, though their fates may yet be uncertain and depend on other transfer activity.

It will firmly mark the end of an era. The ending for Jürgen Klopp’s first great side at Liverpool, but hopefully not his last. An ending that began at the end of last season with the departure of Sadio Mané and is now reaching its ultimate conclusion.

“I think the whole season is a season where we qualify for Europa League rather than for Champions League,” Klopp added. “We were for too long not good enough or ourselves. I think we made it exciting—and I didn’t think that was possible seven weeks ago.

“The boys did really well in that period. I think our people enjoyed it as well, you could see today they are not angry with us, they are looking forward to a new Premier League season and Europa League season. So do I [even if] we have still a game to play.

“What the people did anyway, like the mural for Bobby Firmino, I don’t know when I was the last time that touched. Yesterday we drove to the stadium and then you pass that and you think, wow. It was a big, big gesture and Bobby was really [touched].”

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