The ongoing ambiguity regarding Rhian Brewster and his 2020/21 credentials is still playing out.
Reports on Wednesday indicated that Sheffield United were ‘in talks’ to sign the talented 20-year-old on a season long-loan despite Brewster impressing Jurgen Klopp during Liverpool’s pre-season tour of Austria.
Brewster spent the second half of last season on loan at Swansea and scored an impressive 11 goals during 22 appearances in south Wales.
What is unclear, is whether Liverpool think Brewster will be better suited in the long-term at Anfield next season or instead at another Premier League club.
Will Brewster be kept as a viable goalscoring alternative to Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi or will he become a mainstay figure for another top-flight manager?
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Rhian Brewster has caught the eye in Austria but a loan to a Premier League or top-flight European team is currently the plan (@ptgorst)
— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) August 26, 2020
Paul Gorst of The Echo recently confirmed that a loan move looks the more likely option next season even after scoring three times during pre-season friendlies against Stuttgart and RB Salzburg.
If Liverpool did decide to move the talented forward out on loan, the club do have other attacking possibilities next season.
Here is a look at the three top options Klopp could look to deploy as a No.9 next season…
Minamino has demonstrated on few occasions that he can thrive in a central attacking role when given the opportunity.
Against Everton post-lockdown, the Japanese international thrived in a more attacking role and was handed his full Premier League debut on the right of Klopp’s three-pronged attack.
It was Minamino’s infectious energy that forced Liverpool’s counter-pressing that regained possession and led to Roberto Firmino dragging a decent opening wide.
Similarly to the Brazilian, Minamino is an intelligent footballer, who loves to drop deep and express himself with his link-up play with his best work occurring when he drifts into central areas rather than hanging about out on the touchline.
One potential glaring weakness in comparison to Firmino is that Minamino lacks the No.9’s natural physical prowess but this is something that can be timely addressed during the off-season in an attempt bulk up with extra gym work ahead of Liverpool’s title defence which is due to commence from September 12.
If Klopp ever looks to try something different tactically, he could revert to the 4-3-2-1 formation that worked effectively during the 2018/19 season.
Granted, this system does hinge on the availability of Xherdan Shaqiri whose sustained performance levels two years ago forced Klopp to adopt an alternative attacking system that saw Firmino deployed behind Salah.
It gave Liverpool a greater incentive to get forward and made them less predictable on the counter-attack as well as out wide as the Reds had four separate attacking options to break between enemy lines.
If Liverpool were struggling on the goal front, it could bean option Klopp looks to uncover once again to give opponents the odd element of surprise.
Perhaps the most surprising choice considering the Dutchman is best utilised through the middle.
However, Klopp has an array of options in midfield and if he wanted to mix things up he could revert to a system that was quite effective in the Champions League last year.
Despite losing 3-0, Klopp’s decision to deploy Wijnaldum as the team’s attacking focal point at the Nou Camp enabled Liverpool to dominate possession as well as dictate the tempo of the game.
It also enabled both Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah to run in behind more efficiently as Wijnaldum is arguably Liverpool’s best player in terms of ball retention.
While it may not be the obvious pick, it does suggest that Klopp isn’t short of options if he were to uncover another attacking element.
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- Vitor Matos on how Liverpool’s youngsters are to step up next season
- Gini Wijnaldum comments are encouraging to see for Liverpool
- Report: Xherdan Shaqiri has showed no inclination to leave Liverpool
- Curtis Jones comments demonstrate why he will be invaluable next season