Roberto Firmino scored in his final Anfield appearance, marking the occasion with a dramatic late equaliser as Liverpool earned a draw against Aston Villa.
Roberto Firmino scored a dramatic late equaliser on the day that Anfield paid tribute to the departing Brazilian star on his final home appearance.
Liverpool paid tribute to two of their longest-serving players, with James Milner and Firmino both honoured by the club during the Reds’ final home match of the season. Before the match, banners were raised on the Kop, with both players also receiving rapturous receptions when their names were read out, with both on the substitutes’ bench for a crucial match.
Both players came on to huge cheers in the closing stages, with their presence lifting the Reds. Firmino equalised in the 89th minute, scoring from a Mo Salah cross, with the 31-year-old having the opportunity to celebrate his goal in front of a jubilant Kop.
A tearful Firmino was embraced after the match by compatriot Alisson, with the Reds goalkeeper embracing his tearful teammate and offering words in his ear after a remarkable run of success together.
After the match, they were able to take in the love of the Anfield faithful, with a lap of the pitch to show appreciation for the club’s fans as the players’ families joined them on the pitch. As the players lapped the pitch, the Kop sang a song directed towards the departing Firmino as he took in the love of a city he has called home for the past eight years.
Both players arrived before Jurgen Klopp took over, with their arrival in 2015 coming as the club begun a remarkable ascent to success. The Reds eventually lifted the Champions League title in 2019 as well as a Premier League title a year later in 2020. Firmino in particular was lauded for his part in a fearsome attacking trio alongside Salah and Sadio Mane.
Mane left the club last summer, meaning that Salah is now the only member of the iconic front three who will be at the club next season.
Firmino’s next destination is unclear, but having been one of the key players in one of Europe’s best sides in recent years he will be subject to plenty of interest.
Milner was given a fond farewell in his final Anfield match, with the 37-year-old set to join Brighton next season.
His 330 appearances for the club over the course of eight years saw a number of major honours, with the former Manchester City midfielder becoming a popular figure on Anfield and useful servant having often been asked to play out of position.
All four departing players, which also included Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita, were all given a guard of honour by teammates and club staff following the match, with a parting gift presented to each player.
Speaking in March as it was announced that Firmino would leave the club, Klopp spoke of his admiration for the Brazilian, revealing how his legacy would live on at Anfield.
He said: “There’s no time for a goodbye or whatever in this moment, there’s enough time for that later in the season. Whenever he will come back, everybody knows that the song will still be for a long, long time in everybody’s ears I’m pretty sure.”