Liverpool

Klopp’s Attacking Dilemma At Liverpool

 • by Sam McGuire
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So far this summer Liverpool have concentrated their efforts on incomings. Dominic Solanke arrived from Chelsea and Mohamed Salah swapped Rome for Merseyside.

The Reds have been perpetually linked with Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita, too. 

The pair have been the constants this transfer window while Andrew Robertson has recently emerged as a contender to displace James Milner at left-back. Of course, many more players – some good and some bad – have been tentatively linked.

However, not much has been made on the potential outgoings. And Liverpool have a fair few players to shift. There have been whispers about potential departures but they were all inevitable.

Swansea City and Sevilla have an interest in Alberto Moreno while Marco Silva wants to be reunited with Lazar Markovic at Watford. So far none of these moves have happened and the links have died down.


Naby Keita | RB Leipzig | FWTV by FootballWhispers

Paul Joyce did reveal Lazio have had a £5million bid accepted by the Reds for Lucas but the move hinges on whether or not the player fancies the move.

While Jürgen Klopp and the recruitment team are right to focus on strengthening their squad there will come a time the German has to address the elephant in the room; the abundance of attackers he has at his disposal.

The Reds, if all goes to plan, will have Champions League football next season which means there’s an increase in travel with trips around Europe as well as more fixtures to navigate.

A bigger squad is necessary but is having five centre-forwards not overkill when you play a system which requires just the one?

Klopp can call upon Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi, Danny Ings and Dominic Solanke. While these players may not be considered the most elite in Europe, they all offer the team something different and are all going to want first-team football.

Every team with title ambitions does need serious firepower but it’s no longer just about strikers finding the back of the net. Teams now rely on their midfielders to chip in.

The 2016/17 season saw Liverpool finish as fourth-highest scorers in the Premier League with 78 behind Manchester City (80), Chelsea (85) and Spurs (86).

Of that quartet, the Reds were the only side to not have a player finish the campaign with 20 or more Premier League strikes.

It goes to show that by spreading the goals arund, like Klopp’s men did, they weren’t that far off the teams with genuine world class strikers.

Furthermore, when looking at the top six clubs in the league, Liverpool had the most players score five goals or more with eight. Chelsea had seven, Man City finished with six, Man United with five while Arsenal and Spurs had just the four.

There’s not an over reliance from Klopp’s men on their strikers to deliver. So with this in mind, the Reds have one striker too many.

There’s not going to be enough minutes to satisfy all five and develop the likes of Ings, Solanke and Origi.

Which Liverpool striker is in danger?

Firmino is the new Liverpool No.9. Some may feel he isn’t prolific enough but what he brings to the team is near impossible to replace. The Brazilian is going nowhere.

Sturridge, who was mooted to be a a Newcastle United transfer target, finished the season with just three league goals. But reports have suggested the Reds are reluctant to let the former Chelsea hitman leave because it would cost too much to replace him.

His Liverpool career, despite not featuring as often as he would have liked last season, appears to be safe. 

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Solanke, meanwhile, is at Anfield for the long-term. Signed from Chelsea, he has all the tools to be moulded into a proper Klopp striker. Although he’s yet to play a competitive match for the Reds, he’s impressed in pre-season and could well be part of the German’s first-team plans this season.

Origi, a transfer target for both Lyon and Monaco as we exclusively reported, could well find his time is up at Anfield.

The 22-year-old more than doubled the 669 minutes of Premier League action he saw in 2015/16 but despite this his performances were inconsistent at best. He finished the campaign with seven goals, an adequate return. Yet it was his impact on the attack which left a lot to be desired. 

The Belgian has just the two-years remaining on his contract and as of yet no new negotiations have started. The club could tie him down to a longer deal and then loan him out to get him the minutes he needs, or they could simply decide to cash in.

And then there’s Ings. He is the wildcard of the bunch. The Englishman been with the club for two seasons but has played just a handful of games due to two serious knee injuries.

Before picking up the first one he was on his way to cult-hero status after nodding home in the Merseyside derby. He returned having impressed Klopp in training and with the Under-23’s but picked up another season ended injury.

With Solanke’s arrival, could Ings be forced out of the door? Everything the former Burnley man can offer is matched by Solanke, and the Under-20World Cup winner has the physical presence which Ings doesn’t.

Ings could do with a season of football to get back on track and he’s not going to get it an Anfield. It’s not feasible for Liverpool to keep all five forwards and it’s the latter duo who are candidates to leave this summer.

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