The fate of Liverpool’s 2016/2017 strikers

During Klopp’s pre-Arsenal match conference he was asked “when you have all of your forwards fit do you have an ideal strike force in mind, or is that something that you assess week by week, depending on the opposition?”

Klopp’s answer was “if you are involved in the perfect game and it looks like you can perform again in the next game then it’s a better position for the player who is involved.”

However he did also say that having six strikers is a little bit too comfortable (particularly when you consider we have no European football this season), and that “it’s pretty unlikely that we will start with four or five forwards in one game.”

In regards to the Arsenal game he said “I have a clear idea of how we want to start, but it is only the start and nothing else and that the players who aren’t starting need to stay confident and feel they are still an important part of our game.

On that note, with the transfer market now into its last month, this seems like a good time to look at what will become of Liverpool’s six strikers, over the course of the season. (For arguments sake, Firmino is a striker at the moment).

Daniel Sturridge

After a torrid time with injuries during the last year of Rodgers’ time with the club Sturridge was far from rushed back into action when he got fit during Klopp’s tenure. During the second half of the season he was the most injury-free that we’ve seen him in 18 months, and if that trend can continue there is no doubt he will stay at the club. When fully fit he is the most fans first choice striker, however Klopp doesn’t take reputation into account and there are plenty of players who can take his place. But, if injuries start to take their toll once more, we may well have to offload Sturridge, with PSG previously being linked with him.

Divock Origi

Another player who’s fortunes changed drastically after Rodgers departure, he seemed to be a nothing player and certainly didn’t look good enough for Liverpool. Until Klopp surprisingly played him as the striker in his first game against Tottenham. Since then Klopp told him to start ‘playing like a man’ and Origi said he has put on at least 4kg of muscle weight. He finished the season injured but up until that point became one of the fan favourites scoring 10 goals in all competitions. At just 21 he has plenty more time to improve. Will stay with the club.

Roberto Firmino

He was one of the standout performers during Rodgers few months in charge in 2015/16, but that isn’t really saying much. Although Origi and Sturridge are better finishers he adds flair up front and pieces of individual magic which can cause defences real problems – which we saw in the first dismantling of Man City from last season. If he is to play as much as he did last season I can’t see it being regularly as the number nine, more than likely he will play in behind the striker in 4-2-3-1 or on the right wing when playing 4-3-3.

Danny Ings

This was a really annoying story last season, just as he was finding his feet, he’d got himself a few goals and had even made his England debut. He then suffered what was originally thought to be a season ending injury, he did however manage a substitute appearance in the last game of the season. He looked like he could be a useful player under Rodgers, and Klopp has had nothing but good things to say about him, but bar any injuries he isn’t going to be first choice ahead of Sturridge/Origi/Firmino. If he is happy with the odd league start coupled with cup matches and substitute appearances then we should keep him.

But that seems very unlikely for any self-respecting modern footballer (cough-Pato-cough). The best option for both the team and the player would to be to loan him to another Premier League team, just include a clause so he can’t play against us.

Christian Benteke

How many times are we going to do this in without realising we can’t cross a ball to save our lives. First it happened with Andy Carroll, then Rickie Lambert, and then Benteke (yes that is over £70 million). If we’re honest we know he is a good player, but he just doesn’t fit in with our style of play and we are going to have to let him go. No doubt he will one day return to Anfield and bag himself a perfect hat-trick in the Kop end, but as long as we can get at least £25 million I have no problem letting him go.

Mario Balotelli

Just let him go.

I suppose I have to justify that with some reasons. He never showed any desire during his one season with the club, and his one league goal for the club makes abundantly clear. Not to mention his on-field dispute with club captain Jordan Henderson. Not only that but in his loan stint with AC Milan he got himself in trouble with the owner and again only managed one league goal. This is a player who will one day “win the Balon D’or.” I can’t say I’m convinced. There’s only one reasonable course of action at this point, sell him to a Chinese team who can afford his wage, and we might by some miracle make our money back. Maybe put a buy-back clause in the deal in case he does manage to get to a level where he could win the Balon D’or?

But remember this – “just because we have six strikers we will not give presents to other clubs.” – Jürgen Klopp.

Written by Liam Grimshaw (@LiamGrimshaw)

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