Date: 22nd March 2018 at 7:25pm
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The Liverpool fans in the Transfer Tavern are well-accustomed to rumours linking their star players away from the club, but the most recent rumour to emerge concerning Roberto Firmino has given them plenty of cause for concern. 

Jurgen Klopp’s side have been in sensational form since the turn of the year, and his fluid front-three of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino have been an integral component of their success so far. Unsurprisingly, the electric form of the aforementioned trio has provoked plenty of transfer discussion ahead of the summer window, particularly in relation to Salah’s future.

However, according to New York Times journalist Rory Smith, the future of Firmino could also be thrown into doubt this year. In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Smith hailed the Brazilian international as the most complete centre-forward in world football, and he went on to add that Firmino could become a transfer target for Bayern Munich if the Bavarian giants sell Robert Lewandowski to Real Madrid this summer.

Firmino’s departure would be a crucial blow for the club, as he has established an understanding with his teammates this season which is difficult, if not impossible to replace in the short-term. However, if Smith’s prediction proves to be true and Bayern Munich come calling for his signature this summer, then Liverpool will need to sign a replacement of the highest quality to fill the void.

With that being said, Klopp should look no further than making a transfer bid for one of the most devastating attacking players in world football, namely Mauro Icardi of Inter Milan (valued at £67.5 million by Transfermarkt). Considering Icardi is the captain of the Nerazzurri and the clubs top-goalscorer, he is likely to cost at least £100 million, but if The Reds want to stay in touch with their rivals after Firmino’s departure they will need to sign a player of immense quality.

As the market has taught us in recent years, players of immense quality don’t come cheap, but they should be able to acquire the majority of the funds from the sale of Firmino. So far this season, Icardi has scored 22 goals from 24 Serie A appearances, including a hat-trick in the Milan derby and 4 goals against Sampdoria last Sunday.

Icardi is a goal-scoring predator, but he also possesses a wonderful ability to take on his opposite number and intricately link play together in the final-third. There are very few players in world football who could fill the void left by Firmino at Liverpool, but Icardi is one of them, so Klopp must do everything he can to sign him next summer in the event of Firmino’s departure.