Of all of the areas of the Liverpool team that need to be improved this summer, attack is not one that has been discussed very often. The priorities for Jurgen Klopp have been to buy a better goalkeeper, which he has with the capture of Loris Karius, a new centre-back, left-back and perhaps an upgrade in central midfield as well.
However, that has not stopped Jurgen Klopp still boosting his attacking options. Sadio Mane has already arrived for a fee in excess of £30 million, adding pace and versatility to Liverpool’s front line, and the Reds have been linked with more forwards, most recently Anderson Talisca from Benfica, who can play both as a number 10 and as a centre forward. However, do they really need to add to their ranks up front?
For a start, they already have a wealth of talent to choose from. Daniel Sturridge is often accused of being selfish, but it cannot be denied that he is one of the finest finishers in Europe. If he were to have a season free from injury, he would easily bag 20 goals in the league.
They also have Divock Origi, the 21-year-old Belgian, who has already come on leaps and bounds in his short time under Klopp. Then there’s Danny Ings, the energetic and selfless forward who also grabs plenty of goals. The Reds also currently have Christian Benteke and Mario Balotelli on their books, but the latter is almost certain to leave and the former is also unlikely to stay with West Ham and Crystal Palace both keen on the former Aston Villa man.
Furthermore, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino could also fill in up top, meaning that before youth players are taken into consideration, Liverpool currently have seven options to occupy one spot in Jurgen Klopp’s 4-2-3-1 system. It almost seems silly for the Reds to clog up their squad space further by adding another striker.
With Mario Balotelli not part of Klopp’s plans and Benteke looking set for departure, the number of strikers available to the manager is probably closer to five. Then, it must also be considered that both Mane and Firmino would be much better behind the striker; Mane on the right and Firmino in the middle.
The Senegalese Mane barely played up top for Southampton in his two years at St. Mary’s, whereas Firmino’s time as centre forward was mixed with spectacular success (a 4-1 win at the Etihad Stadium) and abject failure (a 3-0 loss at Watford). Klopp would rather have these guys playing in their natural positions.
So really, Klopp has three strong attacking options, but all of these men have their injury issues. Daniel Sturridge has spent so much time unavailable in the two seasons since Liverpool almost won the league that the club must inevitably plan for his absence through the course of a season. Ings spent all of last campaign on the side-line with a knee injury, which could have had a significant impact on his pace, whilst Origi also had his injury problems last campaign.
It is worth remembering that Liverpool had the same three strikers last season, along with Benteke, and still ended up using Firmino as a makeshift forward for much of the season.
In conclusion, Liverpool should perhaps invest in a new striker for the new season. They already have plenty of talent and goal-scoring ability, so signing a big name superstar may not be the way to go, but bringing in a relatively young, hungry talent, who could cover for injuries and occasionally chip in from the bench would be a massive help.
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