Liverpool could sell Rhian Brewster, according to reports, suggesting Jurgen Klopp is all-in on his unconventional tactic.
Sky Sports, among others, report that Liverpool could sell Brewster. The 20-year-old would command a £20m fee, however, and the Reds haven’t entirely made up their minds.
But the potential is there. Several teams supposedly want him and it could be that Liverpool cash in on one of their brightest prospects.
We’ve written quite a few pieces over the last few months about Brewster’s potential. He’s a reliable goalscorer who has scored 11 goals in his first senior half-season, after all, and someone who already knows Liverpool well.
We think he’s potentially an answer to Liverpool’s lack of goals from the bench. But Klopp and co. may feel differently. And if Klopp does, it suggests they’re all-in on an unconventional tactic – the False 9.
Playing their own way
Liverpool are one of the few elite sides who play without a pure no.9. Manchester City have Sergio Aguero, Bayern Munich have Robert Lewandowski, Barcelona did use Luis Suarez, and Real Madrid have Karim Benzema.
All are fantastic all-around players but they’re goalscorers, first and foremost. But Liverpool, going against the grain, use Roberto Firmino.
The Brazilian is naturally a no.10 but Klopp converted him to playing as a striker. Only by name, however. Firmino rarely ‘leads the line’ and he’s never the main goal threat. Instead, his movement and playmaking creates space for goalscoring wingers – the true threat in the Liverpool side.
And this is all particularly relevant now. Liverpool’s front-three – Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah – are all 28 years old and will need replacing before long.
That’s a difficult task, given how unique Firmino is and how good the others are. So difficult, in fact, that moving towards a more conventional front-line makes a lot of sense. Brewster, at 20 years old, would surely be well-placed to be a conventional no.9.
Selling him suggests that’s not the plan, though. Instead, Liverpool will have two obvious options for the central forward in their 4-3-3 – Firmino and Takumi Minamino. There’s also Divock Origi, of course, but we don’t see a bright future at Liverpool for the Belgian.
Minamino is the first player who can truly offer competition for Firmino in that role. He’s stylistically similar, while his age (25) suggests he could take over in the next few years.
Importantly, too, the central role isn’t the only one he can player – unlike Brewster. Thus Minamino can still have regular football alongside Firmino, while also covering him.
That chances of that increase with Liverpool potentially selling Brewster. The mere fact they’re considering it is enough to tell you that they’re not sure on playing that way. Brewster is a very talented forward, after all, and ‘free’ – taking a chance on him costs nothing.
But if it means playing the ‘wrong’ style, then perhaps Klopp simply isn’t that interested. And finding players who do play the way Liverpool want is more important than outright ability.