Written by Daniel
Ok Fellow Liverpudlians ! Let’s Discuss Liverpool ! Let’s Talk Some Reds !
Liverpool play a false nine in their attack in the form of Firmino. His value to the squad is indispensable. However, do Liverpool need a real striker to evolve as a team ?
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF REAL STRIKER
overcomING the low block
Many teams will try to organize their back four this season, much like Jose Mourinho and Sean Dyche, in their efforts to limit the Liverpool front three. In such games, the team would need a proper center forward to occupy the spaces between the defense. This would allow space and freedom for Firmino to drop deep before taking up a position inside the box. A proper ‘number 9’ would be needed at this time to make runs behind the opposition’s defensive line and engage the defenders, leaving plenty of space for others to attack. This is not a particular weakness in the Liverpool system per say. However, as teams get used to the movements of the false nine, it will become the ‘new normal’.
rotatING the front three
As the front three have been ever-present from the time they were formed in the 17-18 season, they need to be carefully managed to avoid exhaustion. Fortunately, Liverpool is blessed with options in the attacking midfield area. The likes of Jota, Shaqiri, and Curtis Jones are waiting for any chances coming their way. Jota, in particular, has been in red hot form since joining and is making a strong claim to displace one of them out of form front three.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST REAL STRIKER
Special Front thREE
The chemistry between the front three is special and fearsome. The front three have a combined 250 goals between them. Moreover, the understanding between them is almost telepathic by this stage. You just need to see the interchange of passes amongst them. The combination play is unplayable and destructive at times. It is the primary reason teams have chosen to deploy a deep defensive line against Liverpool. Some would argue about dropping Firmino since he is not contributing to goals. However, he is the focal point in the Liverpool attack, and the one knitting the front three together. Hence, he is irreplaceable right now.
LAMBERT, BENTEKE & BALOTELLI ERA
Let’s have a bit of history. Liverpool has not used a system playing a striker since Balotelli and Benteke’s days. Those years were one of the darkest periods in the club’s recent memory. Those strikers only scored a handful of goals combined, though you could argue that they received limited game time. Those days were excruciating, provided they lasted only 20 odd games. Liverpool was contemplating in the lower half of the table. As such, the system of a lone striker will not bode well in the Liverpool Kingdom.
The installation of a striker will prevent Liverpool from using three midfielders in their line-up. As such, one workhorse type midfielder must be sacrificed. One of Wijnaldum or Henderson might have to make way for accommodating the versatile and more attacking Thiago Alcantara. However, this will make Liverpool prone to more counter-attacks. The change will come at a cost as there won’t be an extra midfielder to mop up the opponent’s attacking forays. The defense will have to work overtime for the clean sheet. Alisson Becker would have to step up his ‘sweeper-keeper’ behind the defense.
OPTIMUM USE OF MIDFIELD OPTIONS
Liverpool has been blessed with quality players in midfield positions. The likes of Ox and Keita might be injured, but they are indeed valuable assets when on the pitch. They add great dynamism to the midfield with their energy and running. The two-man midfield line-up will likely stifle their chances in a starting role. Therefore, the current set-up with the three-man midfield is the one to go ahead with. It provides more balance in the middle of the park with ample room for rotation.