After a season that has yielded 90 goals from its much vaunted tripartite of attackers, it seems absurd to suggest that Liverpool require an out-and-out striker to compete at the very highest level, but I believe this is what is needed to propel the Reds, along with a top class central defender to partner Virgil van Dijk and goalkeepers far better than what they currently possess, into territory presently only occupied by Manchester City and the established Spanish giants.
The imbalance within Liverpool’s goal scoring feats from the 2017/18 season shows that Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Saido Mane, none of who I would bracket as a classic number nine, dominate the statistics to such an extent that two players either who’ve already left Anfield or close to doing so, Phillipe Coutinho and Emre Can, are the next highest scorers, albeit a world away in numbers, as are the rest of the midfield shorn of the injured Adam Lallana’s scoring potential. The more defensively minded Jordan Henderson and James Milner are never likely to pick up the slack.
Acquiring a classic centre forward would enable Juergen Klopp to push Salah back into the number ten role, bringing Firmino and Mane into play from supporting wider berths. Liverpool will need a difference dimension to their play that such a change of emphasis in the final third would bring; after a stellar season of terrorising defences but with an accompanying cautionary note of being soft in their own central defence, a diversity to the Reds’ style of play is vital if they aren’t going to be ‘found out’.
Although the enigmatic Daniel Sturridge remains on the books, his style of play at this point of time doesn’t suit Klopp’s loyalty to his ‘big three’. Sturridge’s poor injury record has inevitably hindered his progress, something a loan spell at West Bromwich Albion designed to give games to the 28-year-old failed to improve. Fellow strikers Dominic Solanke and the unfortunate Danny Ings have their tangible qualities but are never going to be the answer to Liverpool securing a top-tier centre forward.
Sourcing a player cut from the cloth of a Fernando Torres in his pomp or a Diego Costa-type battering ram needn’t slow down Liverpool’s quicksilver style of play but would add a vital extra dimension to a squad now on the cusp of greatest. Whether its peak has already been hit or a potential Champions’ League success this Saturday evening heralding the start of a return to domination not seen at Anfield since the 80’s, will depend on which direction Klopp decides to take his squad. I feel this is a pivotal moment for the German’s reign in the Boot Room, and whether Liverpool can eventually lay any gloves on Manchester City’s domestic hegemony.