Roberto Firmino in Liverpool’s plans amid transfer links

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Roberto Firmino is in his plans as the forward, who has entered the final year of his contract, attracts the interest of European clubs.

“Bobby is the heart and soul of this team. That’s why I’m happy he has trained with us so far,” Klopp said. “For me there’s no doubt about his quality. He’s essential to us.”

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– Ogden: Why Liverpool will want to win the Community Shield

Firmino, 30, fell down the pecking order at Anfield last season, starting just 10 games in the Premier League. The Brazil international has been strongly linked with a move to Juventus in recent days.

Klopp added he was sad to see Sadio Mane move on after he left Liverpool for Bayern Munich, but was glad the forward stated his intentions early, which allowed Liverpool to find a replacement with Darwin Nunez joining the club last month.

“We lost Sadio who was a fixed lineup player for six years. He told us he wanted a new challenge,” Klopp said.

“He told us early enough and we accepted it. We had time to prepare that and that’s what we did.”

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and forward Diogo Jota will play no part in their Community Shield game against Manchester City as they continue to recover from injuries, Klopp said.

Jota injured his thigh during a preseason training session and Klopp did not give a potential return date but Alisson, who had an abdominal injury, will return in time for the first round of the Premier League season.

“Alisson trained today, more than the day before. He’ll be ready for Fulham (on Aug. 6) but not for the weekend. Diogo, it will take a while, unfortunately,” Klopp told reporters ahead of Saturday’s match at the King Power Stadium.

Liverpool lost the league title to City last season by one point and when asked if the Community Shield trophy was important, Klopp said they would take it seriously.

“It’s very important, it’s the last domestic cup competition we haven’t won yet so we’ll give it a try,” Klopp said.

“If you win it it’s a very important competition. But if you lose, it becomes less important,” he added with a smile.