Summer 2021 is going to be a big one for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. With the famous front three failing to fire, it is time one of them was phased out.
That one must be Roberto Firmino.
This is no slight on the Brazilian fan favourite. He has been nothing short of vital in Klopp’s Anfield revolution. But there comes a time to move on.
For the last few seasons, Klopp and his coaches have used the famous innovative system of using wingers as primary goalscorers.
This season, the system has been figured out. While Firmino’s ability to drop deep and link play between Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah was crucial to the Reds’ success in recent years, it simply is not working anymore.
As mentioned by Jamie Carragher, the club must sign a natural number 9 this summer capable of putting away chances. A lethal finisher.
Liverpool youngster Harvey Elliott, on loan at Blackburn Rovers, looks set to become an elite creative wide man.
Only Emi Buendia has more than his 10 Championship assists this season, while his underlying numbers would be sensational for a seasoned pro, nevermind a 17-year-old.
Diogo Jota’s time in the Premier League has produced an average of 0.36 xG per 90, which suggests that he should develop into a 20-goal-a-season attacker from the left flank.
The Portuguese has also had more expected assists than actual assists throughout his time in England, suggesting that his creativity numbers would be a lot better if he supplied an elite finisher.
With Elliott’s creativity and Jota’s mixture of goals and assists, Liverpool’s future attacking jigsaw needs that one player to put the chances away.
Erling Braut Haaland is the dream. He has a release clause that comes into play in 2022, according to Fabrizio Romano. So, the Reds should hold off until then and try to sign him on the cheap.
The front three next season should be some combination of Mane, Salah and Jota. Either Salah or Jota should play centrally and occupy the box, rather than dropping deep.
Elliott could be used off the bench and in rotation.
Then, come summer 2022, we could be looking at a Jota, Haaland, Elliott attacking trio. Liverpool fans should be licking their lips at the prospect of it.
Stats from FBREF.com