Thursday 17 January 2019

How did Liverpool wind up with no strikers?

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp has many gaps in his squad which must be filled but the most glaring miss at the moment is a striker, someone who will chug away supplying goals.

When I sat down to think about the type of players Klopp should be chasing, I couldn't get away from the idea that Liverpool need a big name, someone like Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is carrying an entire club on his shoulders

I'm not suggesting that he should have to but Liverpool desperately need players who can lead and inspire. Consistent goal scorers do that as easily as breathing.

But if you look at the names I've settled on in the panel, there is one common theme with three of them.

Cash. Big wedges of it and nothing less will convince players like Antoine Griezmann, Gonzalo Higuain and Edinson Cavani to play for your club.

That's the first obstacle to get over and the one that worries me the most at the moment.

We saw during the week that Liverpool are healthy enough financially given the fact that a big redevelopment of the main stand has been delivered and there was no Champions League football to pad out the bank accounts.

But the pattern for a number of years has shown that Liverpool managers have gone to the starting line in August ill-prepared for the task ahead in terms of strikers, usually the most expensive commodity.

The last time Anfield was well-served in this area was when Brendan Rodgers was fortunate enough to have Luis Suarez to pick and a younger, less fragile Daniel Sturridge who fed off him.

Goals went in from every angle and Liverpool came agonisingly close to a Premier League title.

But ever since, poor planning and some pretty awful work in the transfer market have left Klopp with no recognised striker to pick.

I'm not sure how this happened. Suarez's exit was about as predictable as you can get but Rodgers ended up with Mario Balotelli as a replacement.

Similarly, Klopp knew he wanted to offload Christian Benteke and yet made no provision to replace him.

Even the last name on my list, Jermaine Defoe, would have been a better option than either Sturridge or Divock Origi who seems to be heading in the same direction as Benteke. All of this makes me wonder whether John Henry and FSG are really willing to spend what they need to spend to help Klopp fix his problems.

It's fine to have a club policy which favours young talent and maybe things are a bit tight after the work done at Anfield but Henry needs to take a close look at what has happened at Arsenal with a similar policy and a manager who is obsessed with balancing the books.

Klopp's dealings in the market made a small profit last year and while that might look impressive to a businessman, it did nothing at all to help his squad.

The win over Arsenal was very welcome but once again underlined where Klopp and his players are failing.

They can beat Arsenal but they lose to Burnley and there are a lot more Burnleys than Arsenals in the Premier League.

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