Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane were among Liverpool’s poorer players in the soul-crushing defeat to Chelsea.
It’s not right to be too harsh on two stars who have systematically spearheaded Liverpool to Premier League and Champions League success. What is hurting them is a lack of rest.
Firmino has played 37 matches this season and Mane 34. That doesn’t take into account international fixtures either.
Factor in the relentless demands of the previous two seasons combined and the June to August schedule, too, and it doesn’t take a forensic investigator to deem these players need a break.
Part of the problem lies with Klopp’s lack of depth, especially in the attacking department. Yes, Diogo Jota is back in the equation, but that might not be enough on its own.
Another striker was needed
Hindsight is a powerful tool, to say the least. Unfortunately, this has worked emphatically against Liverpool all season.
The problem here is that the issue could have been solved if another viable attacking option was purchased.
A number of other options were considered last summer; such as Jonathan David of Lille and Ismaila Sarr of Watford, per The Athletic.
Liverpool chose not to pursue their reported interest in the aforementioned names, with Jurgen Klopp placing his focus, instead, on Jota.
Sadly, Jota has been totally absent in recent months as a result of injury. Again, hindsight would indicate that another addition, then, could have benefited Liverpool.
Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri have failed to step up, too, in the fixtures they’ve been called upon.
The two forward players have collectively clocked up just two goals between them this season – both of which were scored during a 7-2 win against Lincoln City in the League Cup.
In an ideal world, Origi and Shaqiri would enable Klopp to regularly rotate between Firmino, Mane and Mohamed Salah, but he does not feel he can drop his pedigreed front-three without the team experiencing a drop-off.
Nor does it feel like any of Origi, Shaqiri or Jota are a direct alternative to Firmino through the middle. This was one drawback to not signing someone like David, who is currently thriving as a number nine in Ligue 1.
David, who signed for Lille last summer for a fee of £27 million [Goal, is young, too, which means he could have been brought in to learn and accelerate his development alongside Firmino, who has been one of the best centre-forwards in Europe over the past five years.
Indeed, Liverpool would benefit from buying the best in the business on the current market in the form of Erling Haaland. However, given the financial backlash of the pandemic and Liverpool’s diminishing top-four credentials, a player of David’s calibre seems more viable at this moment in time.
Firmino and Mane need help. Unfortunately, it seems that none other than Jota are capable of easing the strain on Liverpool’s misfiring front-three.
Another viable attacking alternative has quickly become a top transfer priority for Klopp this summer.