Following the 1-0 loss to Burnley on Thursday night, it’s clear Liverpool are in desperate need of a new striker.
The defeat ended Liverpool’s legendary unbeaten record of 68 games at Anfield. Now, it means The Reds have gone five league games without a win, scoring only one goal.
It may be the case of a ‘blip’ in form, but the performances have dropped off since last season’s league title triumph.
There’s a great number of reasons or excuses as to why the side have not been at it: injuries galore, midfielders playing in defence, no pre season etc… Personally, I think the most concerning aspect is the lack of goals from our forwards, especially from our strikers.
The Front Three Need to Score More
Mohamed Salah is the Premier League’s top scorer with 13 goals to his name. Sadio Mane trails with six, and Roberto Firmino has five league goals.
Salah is still scoring even though he’s nowhere near his best right now, which is good, but Mane’s and Firmino’s goal tally is worrying.
The Senegalese winger has been one of our few bright sparks in recent matches despite the lack of goals. However, Firmino’s end product in front of goal is not good enough as the side’s striker.
The Brazilian has made up for his low amount of goals in the past, through his intense pressing from the front and getting assists. But, those numbers have dropped too low for them to be acceptable.
Over the past four seasons, according to Sky Sports, Firmino has gone from averaging 185 minutes per goal since the 2017/18 season, to now 297 minutes a goal. He’s also not winning the ball back in the final third. His possessions won from final third per 90 minutes is averaging at 0.42-the lowest it’s ever been by a big margin.
The game against Manchester United, which ended 0-0, highlighted his poor finishing instinct. Firmino had a two great opportunities, inside the first half, to put Liverpool in front. The result was a wild shot off target on the edge of the box, and a tame effort from within the penalty area.
A natural goalscorer scores at least one goal from the two chances. Until Liverpool sign one, it’s clear more chances will be wasted.
So what can Klopp do to change the outcome of these squandered chances?
He tried out Belgium forward Divock Origi, by giving him his first start in the league this season, against Burnley. However, that didn’t go well.
The 25-year-old missed the biggest Liverpool chance of the game. Origi found himself one on one with The Clarets keeper Nick Pope, but smashed the ball against the crossbar. The fact he didn’t even test the keeper, means he’s far from the level of what’s required up front.
Japanese international Takumi Minamino isn’t a natural finisher either. He’s struggled to get a run of games after mixed performances. despite scoring in the 7-0 thumping of Crystal Palace, but it’s clear he still needs time to adapt to the league.
Recent signing Diogo Jota was arguably the club’s most inform player after scoring nine times in his first 17 appearances for the club. Unfortunately, Klopp has confirmed the injured player is still a “few weeks away.”
It’s clear until Jota returns from injury, Liverpool haven’t got the quality to rotate the under performing forwards.
A New Striker Must Be Bought
Knowing that the front three are entering their late 20’s, it’s pivotal that the club sign a new top forward.
Klopp has already confirmed that the club haven’t backed him during the current January transfer window, after requesting a much-needed centre back. Check out Matt Thielen’s piece on the boss breaking his transfer silence.
Therefore, it’s extremely unlikely a new striker will be bought this month.
I think French forward Kylian Mbappe is the ideal signing. A young, world-class forward who has instinctive finishing ability and can play out wide too. The 22-year-old is likely to either move to Liverpool or Real Madrid, unless he agrees to a contract extension with current club Paris Saint-Germain.
Other than superstar Mbappe, the club haven’t been linked with a move for another first-team quality forward as of today. If he doesn’t want to stay on at PSG, he has to become the clubs’ number one priority.
Jota proved that the team need’s fresh faces. I fear if Liverpool fail to get at least top four, financially, the club won’t be able to sign the quality we desire.