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Opinion: A no.9 will change Liverpool for the better next season

Liverpool may sign a traditional no.9 for next season. It’s a move that would change the side for the better.

It sounds as though Liverpool want to sign a striker for this coming season. Fabrizio Romano says the Reds want an attacker and that they’ll sell two players to help fund it.

Those players are Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri. Now, those are two attackers in Liverpool’s current squad – selling them leaves gaps.

But we’d back Harvey Elliott to replace Shaqiri’s place, leaving just Origi’s. The Belgian is a unique member of the squad, though, given he’s the only traditional no.9.

Origi looks to get on the end of crosses, run in behind and lead the line. They’re things Roberto Firmino, who usually plays the centre-forward role, doesn’t excel at.

The Brazilian instead plays the ‘False 9’ role to perfection. He drops back, drifts wide, creates space for others and links with midfield. But if Liverpool want a new attacker, they should look to follow the Origi mould more than Firmino.

A Liverpool no.9

Liverpool could really benefit from upgrading Origi. His lack of output last season really hurt the side at the wrong times.

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The Reds started 2021 struggling for goals, for instance. Their usual plan wasn’t working but there was no easy way to change it.

Outside of Origi, all of their other attacking options fit the same mould – pacey wingers or deeper creative types. Jurgen Klopp just couldn’t shake it up.

Photo by OLI SCARFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

He did try Diogo Jota as a striker at times. It worked to an extent, too, but the Portugal forward can only really do the ‘running in behind’ bit. He’s not ideal at dropping and linking play or holding the ball up.

Bringing someone in who excels at playing directly through the middle would bring that extra option. Someone who can hold the ball up, be a physical presence and force teams to rethink their tactics.

The full-backs could excel with a bigger target to hit. Curtis Jones could find his bursts from midfield become easier with a forward who holds the ball up. It’s something that would add an extra dimension that improves Liverpool.

Finding the right player is key, of course. We’d back Liverpool to do that, though.

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