Damon Savenelli looks at why Liverpool’s front three of Firmino, Salah and Mané could cause just as much devastation as MSN in 2017/18.
Okay, the headline might be a bit ambitious but one can hope. Cut me some slack, I am just a fan who is very excited by the news that Liverpool have officially signed Mo Salah, and I can not wait to see him in action.
Statistically, I do not think that anybody in the current Liverpool squad can even come close to the numbers that MSN (Messi, Suarez, Neymar) manage.
The figures that those three chalk up are quite frankly terrifying which, I guess that is what happens when you have (arguably) the world’s best player, the world’s best striker, and the world’s future best player at your disposal.
All of our attackers are, however, pretty young so maybe one day they could reach the same heights.
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However, in terms of pace, efficiency, vision and chemistry, I do think that Liverpool’s attack will rival MSN.
Already one of Europe’s best attacks, Liverpool’s front three of Coutinho, Firmino and Mane, ranked amongst some of Europe’s elite last season.
At Christmas, Liverpool joined AS Monaco, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Napoli as one of the best attacks on the continent. Pretty decent company if I do say so myself.
Unfortunately, due to injury and player absences, Liverpool slowed down a bit during the second half of the season and they finished with 78 goals – still the third most in England.
Thanks to the tactics of Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool play a fast-paced, aggressive, pedal to the metal brand of football. Klopp’s gegenpressing seemed to fit our set of attackers almost perfectly. So, with Mohamed Salah joining our ranks, how does this impact our attack?
First off, let us talk about pace. Every attack in modern football needs a little bit of pace and with the signing of Salah, we now have an overload of it.
We have all seen the videos of the Egyptian’s blistering speed circling around Twitter ever since we were first linked with him and by the looks of it, Salah is just as fast – if not even faster – than fellow African, Sadio Mané.
For further reference, let’s compare our two wingers to the fastest man on the planet, Usain Bolt. Sadio Mané reportedly tops out at about 34.75 km/h while Mo Salah tops out at a rumoured 36 km/h.
At the World Championships in Berlin during August 2009, Usain Bolt averaged a blistering 37.58 km/h. Not too shabby from the Olympian but our lads aren’t too far behind.
Mo Salah also reportedly can run 100m in 10 seconds while Usain Bolt can run it in 9.58. Ultimately, I think it is safe to say that our wingers would give most Olympic sprinters a run for their money, let alone the likes of Robert Huth and John Stones.
Moving on to efficiency…
Time to take a look at a few of our forward’s statistics in front of goal. Since August of 2015, Philippe Coutinho has scored a goal or assisted a goal once every 128.8 minutes, Mané every 138.7 minutes, Firmino every 144.3 minutes, and Salah every 113.6 minutes.
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) June 21, 2017
So while some attackers may go missing during the course of a season, we currently have a set of attackers that do not go more than two games without scoring or, at the very least, assisting. That is vital. While some teams like Arsenal or Everton may lean on one efficient attacker, we now have four.
Four modern, young, efficient, well-rounded footballers.
In terms of vision and chemistry, you do not need numbers for this one. Due to injury and absences Firmino, Mane, and Coutinho were not on the pitch together nearly as much as they should have been but when they were, oh my it was beautiful.
Let’s start with the samba boys.
The Brazilian duo were basically the Reds’ main creative force. Firmino and Coutinho used their footwork, vision and creativity to fuel Liverpool attacks. Each one knew the movement of the other as if it were second nature and each one could pick out the others run like it was nothing.
Then there is Sadio Mané. The Senegalese speedster essentially terrorised Premier League fullbacks with his pace all season long, allowing Coutinho and Firmino to pick out his runs and play him through for fun.
Now that we have added Salah to our squad we basically have another Mané. Two lightning-quick attackers on each side makes for a mouth-watering attack. Now we just have to hope that Mané and Salah can form good chemistry and use each others pace to the full extent.
With Salah coming in, Coutinho will be pushed back deeper and will have to play the number 8 role, arguably his best position. The magician can now work his magic from the middle of the park which I am sure will be a massive boost to our attack.
So, for now, all I can do is crunch numbers and make predictions but based off of stats, last season’s performance and our style of play, I genuinely think that Jürgen Klopp has built one of the best attacks in Europe.
Who knows maybe at the end of it all, Liverpool’s attack will be in the same conversation as MSN. Now, all we can do is wait and see what next season has in store for us.