Michael Mongie explores Liverpool’s striking setup for ahead of the Premier League season opener against Arsenal.
Liverpool are heading into a highly important Premier League season for the club. Failure to qualify for the Champions League at the very least could see the Reds slide further into irrelevance as far as Europe’s elite are concerned. It’s been 11 years since Liverpool lifted the Champions League trophy in Istanbul. So, what can be done to begin the return to the upper echelon of Europe’s football.
The over-achievement of the 2013/14 season was largely due to the firepower in attack that Liverpool had with Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez terrorising defences all over Europe. With the former’s injury hassles and the latter’s departure to Barcelona, the Reds have been short of real class up front for some time.
Brendan Rodgers tried playing Raheem Sterling up top when he realized that his £16 million ‘gamble’ on Mario Balotelli had crashed and burned spectacularly. However, as much as the Jamaican-born winger is blessed with frightening pace Sterling lacks the finesse required to survive as a centre forward in the Premier League.
Heading into the 2016/17 season Jürgen Klopp will welcome the selection headache that will be posed by playing a system which has room enough for one striker. This means that either Daniel Sturridge or Divock Origi is going to be the lead-man for the season opener against Arsenal in exactly two weeks.
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It became pretty obvious last season that Origi is preferred over Sturridge, especially in the big games, if not entirely due to his mobility and desire to run but his physical presence which is highly suitable to Klopp’s ‘in your face’ style of play. Sturridge is likely aware the he needs to raise the intensity of his game to make certain that he remains the undisputed ‘top-dog’ at Liverpool.
While you cannot question that Sturridge is the superior forward it is also undeniable that Origi offers more physically with the Englishman’s injury woes well documented.
If Origi’s pre-season showings are anything to go by then Liverpool’s Belgian star is set to have a brilliant second season on Merseyside. His first campaign in red was blighted by separate injury worries but a relatively injury-free season should see Origi notch 15+ goals for Liverpool.
Sturridge will be motivated by the competition that Origi will most certainly provide. As when Suarez was at Liverpool, Sturridge rose to the occasion and rose above what anyone expected of him. It may come to a point where Klopp plays both forwards together but it’s unlikely the German will venture from his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.