Jack Hallows discusses Liverpool’s in-form attacking triumvirate which has set the league alight in the opening months of the season.
16 goals. 10 assists. Three forwards. Liverpool’s unstoppable trio have been on absolute fire in the league so far. To put this into perspective, this is as many goals as the whole of Manchester United and more goals than Spurs, Everton, Watford, Southampton and almost double Sunderland’s team total. Backed up by the goals and creativity of any three from four of Henderson, Lallana, Wijnaldum and Can (seven goals, nine assists between them) and it’s safe to say we’re looking at potentially one of the greatest Liverpool attacks of the Premier League era.
End Product / Goals Galore
While the Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge – ‘SAS’ – partnership is of course always worthy of a mention when talking about goalscoring attacks, the sheer brilliance and coherence of the current trio has the potential to surpass it. There’s not only the obvious goals and assists but balance, link up play, work rate, defending from the front and a freakish understanding between the three who all start in set roles but intertwine and move so frequently it’s hard to keep track of them.
To put it simply, they’ve made this Liverpool team impossible to stop. Take Watford for example. The Reds missed a couple of glaring early chances as Firmino volleyed straight at the keeper and Coutinho drilled wide which in past years would’ve come back to haunt them. Not this Liverpool team. No, this Liverpool team managed to score six goals regardless.
Mane has been a fantastic signing from Southampton with his pace, dribbling and positioning pushing the Reds energy and speed up a gear. Most promisingly, while players of his ‘type’ can often frustrate by not scoring enough goals, he hasn’t been having this problem at all this season. Philippe Coutinho on the other wing has been playing as well as anyone in the league, upping his end product impressively – five goals and five assists already in the league – and producing moments of individual magic with much more frequency. In fact, if the PFA Player of the Year award were to be decided tomorrow it would likely be between himself and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.
Then there’s Roberto Firmino, who never looks to be breaking a sweat in anything he does. His elegant style, incredible first touch, silky movement on the ball and ability to press from the front have made him a must-have for Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI. Questions were asked and eyebrows raised when he started the season as the Reds false nine but with six goals in all competitions so far and five in his last seven league appearances, it’s hard to argue with Klopp’s decision.
Potential for Further Improvements
Perhaps most frightening about this attacking trio is they’ve only been playing together as a front three since August yet their chemistry, link up play and understanding is already incredible. With 16 goals and 10 assists between them already in just 11 league games, it’s actually scary to think what those numbers will look like come the end of the season.
They’re not on the same level as the MSN at Barcelona, but there are definite similarities. They’re an attack made up of three superb individuals who work even better as a trident and each bring different dimensions to the teams play going forward. This makes them impossible to pin down and impossible to plan ahead to defend against. All three possess super dribbling skills, uncanny awareness, superb vision and sharp finishing while also being unique enough to each offer something different.
With Firmino the oldest at 25, none have even reached their peak years yet. If the Reds can hold onto each of the three for another two or three years imagine how good and how fluent they will be by then! Liverpool’s best attacking forces have typically come in duos – Torres/Gerrard, Sturridge/Suarez, Dalglish/Rush – but this trio is re-writing the rule book. The utter destruction that was the Watford match was fantastic but worryingly for opposition teams, there is a feeling that the ‘CFM’ can only get better. Let’s hope that’s the case.