Liverpool strength and depth check - strikers

Each day brings increasingly encouraging news regards finishing the season and I think we've done a great job of keeping the football fires burning even when there's been no football. Before we resume action though let's conclude our strength and depth series by taking a look at attackers. They've surely been good enough to win us the league this season but are they good enough for the next one?

♫ We've got Salah, ahhh Mane Mane, and Bobby Firmino, plus now we bought Minamino ♪

And is there anyone else, of course there is.........

One thing's clear right off the bat, if we start next season unchanged, with the same group of attackers it'll hardly be a disaster. Far from it but there are a few questions which raise themselves.

Is Origi good enough?

With a minutes per goal ratio of 248 this season, versus 171 for Salah, 169 for Mane and 214 for Minamino (all games played including before signing for us), Origi is comfortably last in terms of strike rate. However he's also last in total amount of minutes played with 1239. Mo being on 3423, Mane 3049 and Taki 1927. I'd still suggest Origi has played enough minutes to have a better strike rate.

Origi comes on late in games when the opposition are tired and he should be able to make a menace of himself. He also starts cup matches against lowly competition where he should be grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck. I don't think he consistently does either and feel we could replace him with a better, more hungry player (why is Origi seemingly happy with bench duties) who'd provide genuine competition and options.

Has Salah's form lowered and is there a rift between him and Mane?

This one's easy for me, there's been much debate about selling Salah and certainly in some games he's looked a bit off the pace with periods of poor control and decision making but this is a player who has chipped in with 40 goals this season. The kind of figure he chips in with every season. I'd like to hear other's views but mine is we would be mad to even consider selling him.

Do Mane and Mo have a slight unease about them at times? Yep. Does it matter? Nope. I'd hazard a guess this is perfectly normal as all top strikers are greedy by nature. That's not a bad thing, it's just part and parcel and the competitive edge likely pushes them both to their best. Not only that but in-between them we've possibly the most selfless player on the planet in Firmino to knit it all together.

Firmino, is he really a striker and a good enough one?

I think the line's blurred these days between attacking midfielder and striker with many top managers deploying players up front who are better termed simply as attackers and Bobby's in that group. Not a traditional nine and at times it shows in front of goal. Certainly there's no question if he's good enough as he's one of our best players. However in addition we might benefit from a more clinical striker and it would be interesting to see a system tweak where Bobby drops back to a ten role.

Overall, do we need an addition to our attack?

There are a few considerations along with the above. One may be why Jurgen favours playing Origi out wide when he's perhaps better suited to a central role. Indeed it might be unfair to judge him as a striker without seeing him get a decent run directly in front of goal. That said I think modern strikers have to be able to play anywhere along the front from wide to central.

What effect will Minamino have as he starts to get more pitch time. A positive one with luck but enough to mean we don't need to sign anyone else? Not sure we should bank on it and although I've just extolled the virtues of adaptability, I feel we need at least one player who can play brilliantly as a more traditional type central striker. Minimino, just like Mane and Salah, is foremost a wide player.

In conclusion the only senior player we have whose CV tells us they're the man for a striking job down the middle is Origi but Klopp seems reluctant to play him there and he doesn't seem quite good enough when he does. I believe we have room for someone like Timo Werner who excels in wider roles so we wouldn't suffer a drop in performance like when Origi is used but who also brings a new skill set of being deadly through the middle. Additionally a player of that type may afford us the chance to try new formations like utilising Firmino in a ten role.

So far in this series we've reached the following general consensus:

We need a new second choice keeper to replace Adrian.

A new centre back to replace Lovren.

Possibly a new midfielder to account for the older ages of players such as Milner.

To finish our shopping list should we add a new striker and who, if any one, should they replace?
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