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Premier League: Firmino exit means Liverpool rebuild but Caicedo off the market

Following confirmation Roberto Firmino will leave Liverpool at the end of the season a summer rebuild now seems inevitable at Anfield.

The Brazilian forward will need to be replaced but it's not just up front where the Reds must strengthen as the midfield appears to also need serious reinforcement. 

One of Jurgen Klopp's reported transfer targets, Moises Caicedo, has now signed a new long-term deal at Brighton so the German coach will have to shop around to strengthen his squad.

Firmino exit a blow to Klopp 

Let's deal with Firmino's upcoming departure from Liverpool first. The 31-year-old, who has, when fit, been a mainstay of Klopp's successful Liverpool team, spoke to his manager on Friday to inform him of his decision to move on when his current contract expires at the end of the campaign. 

The news will have come as a blow to Klopp as he made it clear he wanted Firmino to stay and he has regularly referenced the fact he is the key component in his side. 

Basically, when Firmino fires, Liverpool generally do too. However, in the past 18 months, injuries and the arrivals of Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez have restricted the former Hoffenheim man's involvement and, despite holding talks about a new deal, Klopp will wish him well in the summer and begin to rebuild.

Famed front-three broken up 

Firmino, along with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane - who left for Bayern Munich last summer - formed the feared frontline to help Liverpool won everything possible between 2019 and 2022. 

His impending moving on and a reshape of the Liverpool squad is probably going to come at just the right time. 

The Reds' only realistic target over the remainder of this season is trying to finish in the top four.

Liverpool host rivals Manchester United on Sunday as the respective clubs' top-four bids continue. Liverpool are 11/8 in Full Time Result, United are 15/8 and a draw is 13/5

Klopp's men have been inconsistent so far this term and it looks like the ageing squad must be freshened up significantly in the summer. 

Firmino's goals and assists will be missed - he has hit 107 goals and got 78 assists in 353 games for the club - but he is no longer the fresh 23-year-old Brendan Rodgers brought in from the Bundesliga in 2015 for £29million and it looks the right time for him to leave. 

He has even proved his worth in 2022-23, contributing nine goals and four assists in all competitions since August, so someone will need to be brought in to replace him unless Klopp believes he has players within who can step up.

Mount and Bellingham other Liverpool targets 

Talk of Mason Mount joining Liverpool continues to rumble on, although he doesn't look a natural replacement for centre-forward Firmino, while Borussia Dortmund's expensive England ace, Jude Bellingham, remains the top summer target to beef up the midfield. 

It will be interesting to see who Klopp turns to to replace the departing Brazilian and the likes of Atletico Madrid's Memphis Depay could be targeted, but maybe the Reds boss does already have players at his disposal to fill Firmino's boots? 

Gakpo could fill Firmino role 

Cody Gakpo, who joined from PSV Eindhoven in January, does appear a similar sort of player to Firmino, while Fabio Carvalho is another in the same mould, although he is only 20 and has largely underwhelmed so far when given a chance in a red shirt. 

One player who has been linked with a move to Merseyside - and elsewhere - is Caicedo but he has now committed his future to Brighton, penning a deal that runs until 2027, with a club option for an extra year on top. 

It represents quite the turnaround for the Ecuador international, who joined the club in February 2021 and has blossomed since, as he informed Brighton, via social media, in January that he wanted to leave. 

Brighton stood firm amid strong interest from Arsenal, who had two bids rejected, while Chelsea were also reportedly interested.

Caicedo new deal means others will look elsewhere 

Caicedo is one of the rising stars of the Premier League and has attracted interest from all of the top clubs. 

His new deal means he will stay unless anyone - probably only either big-spending Chelsea or one of the Manchester clubs - fork out a huge summer sum to break his contract and lure him away from the south coast. 

Brighton will be delighted they are keeping hold of the 21-year-old and the new deal will now mean a possible rejig of transfer targets at the Emirates and elsewhere, as Arsenal will obviously have been keeping a close eye on the situation and remained interested despite landing Jorginho in January from Chelsea.

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