Liverpool have reached the pinnacle of English football.
That means two things. Firstly, they have a target on their backs. Every single club in England will want to surpass Jurgen Klopp’s Reds’. Secondly, they need to keep developing.
No side can rest on their laurels.
The best way to develop an already world-class side is to invest in proven top talent. Signing players to come straight into the starting line-up. Thiago Alcantara is the perfect example of this. Liverpool were English, European and World Champions when the Spaniard signed. Yet, he went straight into the conversation for starting positions.
There are currently two names in world football that could compete with our magnificent front three. Generational Talents. To define generational talents, I would say players who set the standard for every other professional in their era. Ronaldo (R9), Messi, Oliver Kahn and Virgil van Dijk are player’s of this standard.
The two who could set the level for the upcoming generation in an attacking sense are Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.
Haaland vs Mbappe.
The two aforementioned players had spectacular week’s in the Champions League. Erling Haaland grabbed two goals to give Dortmund a slender lead over Sevilla. Kylian Mbappé scored a hat-trick against Barcelona to become the youngest ever to score a hat-trick in the knockout stages of the competition.
Thus, both players are packed full of pedigree. Let’s compare them on a more specific scale.
Erling Haaland –
Erling Haaland has proven himself as a marksman in his fledgling career. He has 18 goals in 13 appearances in Europe’s premier club competition. The Norwegian has a market value of €110m and has a contract with Klopp’s former side until the 30th of June 2024.
Additionally, his agent is Mino Raiola – which could pose a problem for Liverpool when they sit at the negotiating table.
However, the big striker is generational. He averages a goal every 0,66 games so far. Appearing in 136 career matches with 90 goals and 23 assists to his name. Clearly, scoring is his main focus, but he can assist a team-mate where possible.
The 20-year-old is left-footed, which is not particularly important for his position if he signed for Liverpool but an interesting fact nonetheless.
Finally, he has only missed 17 games in his 5-year professional career. Therefore, no shortage of availability, which is imperative as we have learnt during this campaign.
Kylian Mbappé –
Frenchman, Kylian Mbappé has been on every football club’s radar since bursting onto the scene as AS Monaco in 2016/17. Scoring 6 goals in 9 Champions League games as a teenager made the world sit-up and notice.
The speedster has maintained these impressive numbers. Netting 141 goals and assisting his teammates 77 times in 216 games.
That averages out at 0,65 goals per game. Taking it one step further, he averages 1,009 goal contributions per game which edge out Haaland’s average of 0,83 contributes per game.
Injuries have not been an issue for the French International either. He has been unavailable for 30 games throughout his professional career, or 5 games a season. That kind of availability is exactly what you need from such an expensive option.
Consequently, he has a market value of €180m. The light at the end of the tunnel is that his contract expires on the 30th of June 2022. This provides the option of him seeing out his time with PSG and speaking to clubs from January next year.
His favoured position is through the middle. However, he can also play as a Right Wing or a Left Wing. Versatility is always first prize in Klopp’s system so he has that advantage over his Norwegian compatriot.
Fitting into Klopp’s System.
Now this is the most important section of this article.
Jurgen Klopp has proven time and time again that he is no stranger to developing player’s into top talents. Despite this fact, these two stars would arrive as world-beaters.
Signing player’s for the style of play.
Klopp has shown a preference for maintaining his system and fitting individuals into it. Mbappé would be more suitable to the favoured 4-3-3 system that Liverpool have utilised in recent seasons. Although, Haaland would enable the side to switch to a 4-2-3-1.
All the best sides need to progress and a change of system could do exactly that for the Reds. Mbappe is right-footed, thus he would have to replace Mané as the left-wing or play the Firmino role.
Sadio Mané has delivered for Liverpool ever since signing in 2016. His numbers have dropped recently but replacing him with a 180m signing seems like an odd business. Nonetheless, allowing the Frenchman to run down his contract and bringing him in on a free whilst selling Mané in June 2022 could be astute.
The Senegalese star will be 30-years-old by then, and his value may begin to diminish.
Adding an option rather than replacing any players
Conversely, Haaland would not be replacing anyone. He would be signed as an additional option for the Reds as opposed to a like for like change. Liverpool could move to a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Possible Line-Up: Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Salah, Firmino, Mané, Haaland.
This shift in system would move Bobby deeper. He has the touch and vision to open play for the wide men. Thus, enabling him to pull the strings and put chances on a plate for Haaland to gobble up.
Furthermore, the idea of Trent and Robbo acting as a supply chain for Haaland is the stuff of dreams. It wouldn’t surprise me if he scored in excess of 50 goals a season at Anfield.
Naturally, both these players are likely to break the bank. But what it boils down to is which of the two is better for Liverpool in the long-term.
My preference is Haaland.
This may stir controversy but signing a true number nine changes how we approach the low-block. He is also a deadly clinical finisher. Thus, we no longer need to create as many chances as we currently do.
Having said that, we will continue to create these chances, which is why I predict such big numbers for the current Dortmund man at Anfield.
Alternatively, Mbappé is an incredible talent. He has pace and is clinical in his attacking play. But would we be capable of beating the low-block with him in the side?
A change in approach would do this wonderful team the world of good. Having said that, I would never refuse the chance to see Kylian Mbappé in Liverpool red.