Analysing Liverpool’s striking options

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Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Europa League Final match between Liverpool and Sevilla at St. Jakob-Park on May 18, 2016 in Basel, Switzerland.
All rights reserved by Lars Baron/Getty Images

Jonathan Davies discusses the headache that Jurgen Klopp must have whens selecting his forward line.

Before each game, the question on everyone’s lips is ‘who is going to play striker?’ We have four first team quality strikers at the club; Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Roberto Firmino and Danny Ings.

However we still never know who Klopp is going to pick. Does he play two upfront? Play the false nine or play a lone striker upfront? I am going to discuss Klopp’s options.

Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge is our most technically gifted striker. His silky movements on the ball often create space for him and his teammates around him. He was Liverpool’s overall top goal scorer last season with 13 goals scored in all competitions.

This speaks volume of his ability to bounce back from injury and we often see him scoring as soon as he is back in the starting lineup. However, that is the most frustrating issue with Sturridge: his injury woes. Although recently he has only missed the odd game due to an injury, you can tell his game style has changed as instead of running in behind defences, as he used to do in earlier seasons, he wants the ball to feet a lot more now, dropping deeper to make an impact.

Sturridge has already scored two goals this season both coming away to Burton in the Cup  after only having twenty minutes of game time. This just shows he does not need much time to make an impact. I personally feel Daniel thrives when Liverpool play two up front. We saw last season that each time we made the trip to St Mary’s Klopp opted to play the diamond with Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge the two leading the attack.

In the first game, Sturridge bagged two goals and in the second he got himself on the score sheet again. Two of the goals scored in those matches were pieces of individual brilliance with his quick feet tying the defender in knots. Why then does Sturridge not start? This could be mainly due to Klopp preferring a high pressing game which other strikers ultimately do better.

That being said, I would much prefer to keep Sturridge fit than to have risk him being out for months due to the ‘pressing game’. Even though he is one of our best players, some fans go out of there way to try and suggest that he ‘does not care’. This may be because of the way he walks off the pitch or the way he looks as he watches on from the bench.

Maybe this just proves that Daniel is a winner and wants to be on the pitch at all times to help the team in as many ways as possible.

Divock Origi

Around a year ago Divock Origi was voted as part of Ligue 1’s worst XI while on loan from Liverpool to Lille. How times have changed.

Even at the beginning of his Liverpool career, under Brendan, Divock did not look like the player that lit up the 2014 World Cup. He looked like yet another wasted talent. However, ten goals later, and with five kilos of extra muscle, Origi has become a fan favourite to start each game. Whether it be because of his fantastic work ethic or his strength to hold the ball up and bring others into play, we can see why Jurgen Klopp once wanted him at Dortmund.

As I said above, Origi scored ten goals in all competitions including a hat-trick against Southampton and a goal in the derby against Everton, not to mention goals in both home and away ties versus Borussia Dortmund.

Origi has one goal this season, coming in the game against Burton Albion. It was a clever back-heeled finished which not only shows off his skill but the confidence the man must have now to even attempt it. Once again. I would love to see the combination of Sturridge and Origi, they are the perfect pair.

Origi can do the pressing and the hold-up play whereas Sturridge can use his technical ability to bring others into play.  I am incredibly happy with Divock’s progress over the last year and can see him becoming a huge player for us in the years to come. And remember, he has time on his side being only twenty-one years of age.

Roberto Firmino

Another player who did not have the best of starts to his Liverpool career was Firmino. This was mainly because Rodgers decided to play him on the wings instead of his preferred central position.

It took Firmino until November to score for Liverpool in the crushing victory over Manchester City. And around a year later he was Liverpool’s Premier League top goal scorer of the 2015/16 season. His high pressing game and quick feet are the reason that Klopp puts Firmino’s name on the team sheet first. At the beginning of Klopp’s

His high pressing game and quick feet are the reason that Klopp puts Firmino’s name on the team sheet first. At the beginning of Klopp’s reign, we saw former player Benteke and Firmino play together, but the two never seemed to link up quite as well as when Firmino played with Coutinho and Lallana.

We saw the introduction of the false-nine versus Chelsea at Stamford Bridge where Firmino thrived dropping deeper to start attacks and bringing other players into the action. Doing this he managed to bag an assist. We saw this formation being played in various ‘big games’ such as the demolition of City at the Etihad and the 6 goal thriller versus Arsenal.

Firmino has started all games this season also getting on the score sheet against Burton Albion. His work sometimes goes unnoticed especially when he does not score, but in the last game against Tottenham, we saw him win a penalty for his determination and he should have got at least an assist but for Vorm’s fantastic save.

The Brazilian is another player who should produce big things this season and I wish to see him continue his great form from the second half of last season.

Danny Ings

The forgotten man. Ever since his cruciate knee ligament injury last October, this man has gone under the radar. He had to wait his turn when he first came to Anfield, not scoring until September in a 1-1 draw at home to Norwich. After that

After that game, Danny Ings went on to impress scoring against Carlisle in a cup match and at Goodison Park during the Merseyside derby. Sometime after the game against Everton, he was declared out for the rest of the season due to injury.

However, he worked hard and is now back fighting for his place at Liverpool. Ings had a fantastic pre-season, scoring against Wigan and Tranmere. You can understand why he hasn’t made a league appearance for Liverpool yet this season as he will be working on his fitness. But with Klopp rejecting various loan deals for Ings in the summer, we can clearly see that he is in Klopp’s plans for this coming season. Ings’ enthusiasm when playing quickly made him a fan favourite and he looks perfectly suited to Klopp’s high pressing games.

In conclusion, we have four fantastic strikers ready to be used, whether it be coming off of the bench or starting, and if picking who to start up front is giving you a headache just think what it is like for Klopp who actually has to pick between these four strikers.

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1 COMMENT

  1. A little too rosy a picture, though I admit I was a bit spoilt by having the greatest striker in the world, Luis Suarez, at Anfield. Sturridge is not a high-energy player – he drifts in and out and is more interested in scoring himself than any other aspect of play. Origi is an exciting prospect with his strength and speed, but lacks Sturridge’s polish. Like a lot of people, I have high hopes for him in the future. Firmino is a fine player, but doesn’t have the instincts of a striker and is best suited to a free-ranging role. Danny Ings is a really good journeyman, and he will definitely grab you a few goals with his effort, but he needs to have a settled role and I don’t think you can see his best when he is coming off the bench. Overall, I would like to see a truly world-class striker (not easy to get, I know) to replace Sturridge while Origi learns his trade, Firmino drops back, and Ings fills in in the event of injury and against weaker teams.

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