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Jurgen Klopp’s very own Liverpool squad is almost complete- his players, his squad and his responsibility.
The new faces have greeted farewell to the club departures upon their arrival on Merseyside and the onus is now on Klopp to make something happen with this group of men.
Pushing the reigns of Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres aside, one has to look back a long way to remember a time where Liverpool entered a Premier League season with such strength in depth in forward positions.
Klopp has conjured an attacking force capable of offering expertise that promise to test opposition defenders in all aspects of the game. A mixture of work ethic, technical ability, athleticism, power and conviction in front of goal speaks volumes when it comes to recognising Klopp’s attention to detail during the construction of this squad.
Every Liverpool striker or centre forward has a role to play this season. Times are changing and there will be particular games and set-ups for each of them to feature in and make a difference in.
Who will play up top?
One on his own…
It remains to be seen how much of a precedent Klopp’s maiden season in charge will prove to be.
It is hard to look past the German opting for a lone striker ahead of three attacking midfielders in a 4-2-3-1.
Supporters will undoubtedly dismiss the usual desire to see an exciting and unorthodox choice of formation when the idea of a lone striker introduces the realistic possibility of Daniel Sturridge starting up front from the very off this season.
Will Liverpool football club finally be able to see what an entire season with a fit Sturridge would be like? He is a star and with him, Liverpool can compete at the very top.
Sturridge, Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino emerge as the three most likely to take up a position as a lone striker.
Sturridge not only offers the technicians behind him the opportunity to dissect the opposition with through balls but also the chance to run beyond the England star themselves.
His yearning for the spectacular makes him unpredictable and a threat from anywhere in the attacking third. A combination of this with the flair of Firmino and Philippe Coutinho forebodes stretched defences, a busy goalkeeper and plenty of intricate link up play.
Opt for Origi on his own and Klopp’s creators have height to feed in the box as well as a great hold up striker they can play off of and evidently a man who has the confidence to express himself in big games.
The Belgian’s positive development last season means the ‘prospect’ tag is gradually expiring. It is his time now to become a prolific Premier League striker and one with enough about him to secure a place in Liverpool’s ranks for years to come.
Greater experience as a lone man spearheading the side will go a long way towards helping this and helping the team adapt to the different attacking styles both Sturridge and Origi have to offer.
Roberto Firmino is becoming somewhat of an enigma. He seems to float in and out of games and pop up in several positions over the course of 90 minutes. That’s not to say this is a bad thing.
Utilising the Brazilian as a lone forward opens the door for the likes of Emre Can to make more bursting runs from midfield in order to compensate for Firmino’s tendency to come deeper rather than running in behind.
Having said this, the overload of attacking midfielders in high positions, including Firmino as a striker, promises to draw defenders tighter and leave space in behind for the injection of pace Sadio Mane has to offer.
For this reason, don’t be surprised if Firmino begins the campaign against Arsenal.
Sturridge and Origi partnership…
Pairing these two young men up front for a consistent run of games is something Liverpool fans have been excited to see. Though this set up would most likely limit the side’s natural width, it opens up the possibility of a more creative mind in the form of either Adam Lallana or Philippe Coutinho dropping deeper to play behind Roberto Firmino and the two strikers.
Divock Origi’s more obvious willing to work the channels will work in unison with Sturridge’s less noticeable movements deeper in order to collect the ball and orchestrate things himself in a way that will give both sole occupancy of the main central role at different points in the game.
The splitting of the pair also ensures one of the two is always free to make runs into the box while it also invites midfielders forward. Keeping the two close will force the opposition to defend narrowly which creates space for the fullbacks to move into and thereby space for them to create chances from.
Both Origi and Sturridge possess the pace and touch that allows them to work neat moves in and around the box as well as beating their markers in behind. Of course there is the chance to use Sturridge’s invention in a role behind the striker however no one has earned the right to be Liverpool’s main attacking talisman more than the former Chelsea and Manchester City star.
Mane and Sturridge…
Playing two strikers doesn’t necessarily mean playing them as a conventional pairing. Mane looks as though he’ll feature in a wide role this season, whether it be in a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3.
His traits allow him to attack defenders directly and create a fast transition from midfield to attack in a way that promises Sturridge the freedom to stay high up the pitch at times.
Klopp doesn’t pay over the odds for a player he has no belief in. Not only does the former Southampton man offer goals but he also offers the kind of work rate that will tire teams in time for Sturridge and co to take advantage.
Mane represents everything needed in a modern day attack in terms of energy and speed. This will go hand in hand with the touch tight marking that Sturridge’s more technical and quick thinking approach demands.
Playing both at the same time adds an explosiveness and offers a sense of intimidation that Liverpool lacked at times last season.
An attack featuring both Sturridge and Mane provides width and a desire to get into the kind goal scoring positions that will compliment and get the best out of Coutinho, Firmino and the deeper central midfielders.
A place for Ings…
A pivotal season lies ahead for Danny Ings. He finally has his chance to show Klopp what he can do after a lengthy injury lay off.
Though an unlikely starter, he poses as a work horse capable of coming on as a substitute and troubling an already tired opposition defence.
His performance in the league against Manchester United last season demonstrated just how pointless it is playing him in the wider areas.
Play him centrally and the former Burnley man can become a top finisher and someone who can come up with big goals during this upcoming campaign. His presence in a partnership guarantees clever runs in behind the opposition and plenty of close range chances on goal.
Ings will be a great option in cup competitions and, along with Sadio Mane, carries both the need to impress and the experience to help the side be competitive away from the Premier League.
On top of the pace and intelligence in his movement that allows him to play alongside any of Liverpool’s forwards, he plays with a passion and a fight that makes him very much a Jurgen Klopp type of player.
Liverpool enter the season with several attacking options, capable of setting up in several formations. Klopp has the forward players at his disposal to alter tactics through games and through the campaign. There are no excuses for a lack of chances or even goals across 2016/2017.