It is an important summer for Liverpool Football Club. Jurgen Klopp has the chance to stamp his authority upon the squad he inherited from the previous manager Brendan Rodgers, and this will undoubtedly throw up questions about the future of many of the remaining players, and who will keep their place in the German’s starting XI.
One of the areas of intrigue is with the attack, and more specifically up top with the striking role. What system should he play? Which player or players should be the regular starter? And does he need to add players into the attack?
Klopp may choose not to bring in new blood up front, even though it looks likely that £32m signing Christian Benteke will be departing after the EURO’s and before the start of the 2016/17 Premier League season. The Reds have enough firepower in Englishmen Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings and Belgian Divock Origi to be perfectly content going into the new season.
The formation is a harder one to solve. In 2013/14, when Liverpool enjoyed arguably their finest season of the Premier League era narrowly missing out on the title, the Reds played with two strikers up top in Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. This system worked prolifically, as both men filled out the top two positions in the Premier League top scoring list that season.
Crucially, however, when Luis Suarez was serving his suspension and Daniel Sturridge was out injured, manager Brendan Rodgers played just one striker up top, with attacking support coming from Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling.
The whole reason for Liverpool employing the fast becoming obsolete idea of two strikers up top was because they needed to get both men in their team as they were both on top form and of incredible quality.
The situation does not appear to be the same right now, as Sturridge is arguably not quite at the level he was then and Divock Origi is not yet at least of the same quality as the Uruguayan.
Ultimately the best solution will be found by trying out different systems on the training ground and in pre-season, but it appears likely, along with the modern ideology, that Klopp will plump for just one striker on the field with good support on the bench so he can accommodate other attacking players like Coutinho and Roberto Firmino into his first team.
The final and most important question to answer then is who deserves that place in Liverpool’s starting XI: Daniel Sturridge or Divock Origi?
One of Liverpool’s three senior strikers who is pretty much out of the running is Danny Ings, who has spent the majority of his time under Klopp on the treatment table. Ings is a great striker in his own right but is more likely to play a supporting role to his colleagues.
That leaves the competition wide open to Sturridge and Origi with both having strong claims to the spot.
Origi has dramatically improved under Jurgen Klopp, becoming one of the most prolific young strikers in Europe and scoring important goals such as two against Borussia Dortmund. He is quick but also incredibly strong, making him very hard to defend against.
Sturridge’s injury problems have been well documented, but when he is fit and his confidence is back up he can be quite simply lethal. Just take his outside of the foot opener against Sevilla in the Europa League final for example.
With a great shot and explosive pace, Sturridge is a real goal threat and if he irons out his injury problems, he will warrant the starting spot, leading the line for Liverpool next season. But in Origi Liverpool have a perfect backup, who can more than capably lead the line should Sturridge suffer an injury.
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